Decorative objects may look similar, but it can be difficult to say with certainty that they were made by the same artist or workshop. In the past, hand-drawn tracings of the decoration could be used to make comparisons but this was often tricky, hampered by the relief decoration and reflective lustre of the glaze as well as being open to human error.
Exactly this dilemma was faced by experts in the Department of Islamic Antiquities at The Louvre, who were keen to make links between three similar glazed ceramic vases. They knew that one – the Rifaat vase – was produced in Granada, Spain, during the 14th or 15th century. They aimed to show that the two other vases came from the same mould.