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Tile

  • Place of origin:

    Iran (made)

  • Date:

    1275-1325 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Fritware with glazing

  • Museum number:

    1025-1892

  • Gallery location:

    Islamic Middle East, Room 42, The Jameel Gallery, case WE7

The invasions of Iran by pagan Mongols in the thirteenth century brought devastation and disruption, especially in the east. But they were followed by a period of increasing prosperity, as the unification of much of Asia under Mongol rule caused a boom in international trade. One result of this was an increase in the influence of Chinese art on the art of Iran. This included the use of Chinese-inspired imperial symbols like the dragon and phoenix.

For a time after the Mongol conquest, secular imagery developed for palace walls was sometimes used on tiles destined for religious buildings - a striking departure from the usual avoidance of figural imagery in religious contexts. In this example, the Mongol imperial symbol of a phoenix in flight is framed by a quotation from the Qur'an.

Physical description

Moulded fritware tile in the shape of an eight-pointed star, with a depiction of a phoenix in flight surrounded by a quotation from the Qur'an. Colour in the glaze and lustre over the glaze.

Place of Origin

Iran (made)

Date

1275-1325 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Fritware with glazing

Marks and inscriptions


إِنَّآ أَنزَلۡنَـٰهُ فِى لَيۡلَةِ ٱلۡقَدۡرِ وَمَآ أَدۡرَٮٰكَ مَا لَيۡلَةُ ٱلۡقَدۡرِ لَيۡلَةُ ٱلۡقَدۡرِ خَيۡرٌ۬ مِّنۡ أَلۡفِ شَہۡرٍ۬ تَنَزَّلُ ٱلۡمَلَـٰٓٮِٕكَةُ وَٱلرُّوحُ فِيہَا بِإِذۡنِ رَبِّہِم مِّن كُلِّ أَمۡرٍ۬
We have indeed revealed this in the Night of Power: and what will explain to thee what the Night of Power is? The Night of Power is better than a thousand months. Therein come down the angels and the Spirit by Allah's permission, on every errand.
Sura 97

Dimensions

Diameter: 20.5 cm, Depth: 1.8 cm, Weight: 0.6 kg

Descriptive line

Middle East, Ceramic, Tile; Star-shaped tile with phoenix and Qur'anic inscription, Iran, 1275-1375.

Labels and date

Jameel Gallery

Tile with Phoenix and Qur'anic text
Iran
1275-1325

For a time after the Mongol conquest in 1256-8, secular imagery developed for palace walls was sometimes used on tiles destined for religious buildings. In this example, the Mongol imperial symbol of a phoenix in flight is framed by a quotation from the Qur'an.

Moulded fritware with colour in and lustre over the glaze

Museum no. 1025-1892 [Jameel Gallery]

Production Note

Ilkhanid period

Materials

Fritware; Lustre (ceramics decoration)

Techniques

Glazing (coating)

Subjects depicted

Phoenix

Categories

Ceramics; Tiles

Collection

Middle East Section

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