lusterware, kind of pottery with an overglaze finish containing copper and silver or other materials that give the effect of iridescence. The process may have been invented and was certainly first popularized by Islamic potters of the 9th cent. The most beautiful and brilliantly colored ware—pottery that was made between 836 and 883 for the Abbasid caliphs—has been found at Samarra. During the reign (10th–12th cent.) of the Fatimids in Egypt a high standard was maintained. Iranian and Egyptian potters continued to produce lusterware, while in Europe it was manufactured chiefly in Spain and then in Italy, where in the 15th cent. it was sometimes used to enhance majolica. In England the technique came into vogue in the 19th cent. and was utilized by Josiah Wedgwood and Josiah Spode.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.