Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Islamic Middle East, Room 42, The Jameel Gallery

Tile

1275-1325 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Fritware with glazing
Brief Description
Middle East, Ceramic, Tile; Star-shaped tile with phoenix and Qur'anic inscription, Iran, 1275-1375.
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.
Dimensions
  • Diameter: 20.5cm
  • Depth: 1.8cm
  • Weight: 0.6kg
unconfirmed
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 (Sura 97)
Gallery Label
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
Ilkhanid period
Subject depicted
Summary
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.
Associated Object
Collection
Accession Number
1025-1892

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record createdJanuary 19, 2006
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