On Thursday 17 May Dr Melanie Gibson, Executive Trustee of the Gingko Library and Senior Editor of the Gingko Library Art Series, delivered a talk on the subject of Blue and White Ceramics in the Middle East: Exchanges with China’ in partnership with the MBI Al Jaber Foundation.

The lecture outlined the story of blue and white ceramics, which began long before the 14th century, and the genesis of which can be traced to Iraq in the 9th century. Craftsmen working in Basra used cobalt, a pigment that had long been used to colour glass, to add simple painterly designs to white bowls that imitated imported Chinese whitewares. Dr Gibson explored the aesthetic and technical connections and exchanges between the ceramic workshops of China and the Middle East at a number of key moments – starting with 9th century Basra but also looking at production in Kashan, Damascus and Istanbul in the following centuries.

A video recording of Dr Gibson’s lecture will be available shortly.