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  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Iran (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1600-1640 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Ceramic ware with underglaze painting in blues and black.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 145, case EXP

Physical description

Round dish produced in 2 blues. The thick outer border is made up of a series of 8 lobed panels depicting flower sprays that are divided by a more narrow panel that have geometric patterns painted on the outer curved end. The central scene is surrounded by a border decorated with geometric patterns (lined and curved shapes) separated by 8 heart shapes. The scene shows a central figure, wearing a long robe with both arms wrapped around a long scarf. The figure has a moustache and has his heard is turned towards the right hand side of the dish where a smaller figure appears (almost emerging from the border) who also has a moustache and is wearing a cap and carrying a bowl of fruit. At the top of the scene are 2 twisted tree trunks with bare branches.

Place of Origin

Iran (made)


ca. 1600-1640 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Ceramic ware with underglaze painting in blues and black.


Height: 8.2 cm, Diameter: 45.5 cm

Object history note

Historical significance: From the last quarter of the 16th until mid 17th century Chinese dishes with petal panels were the common export wares. The striking effect of the new style of decoration made the design popular not only with the Persian potter but also across western Europe. The design originated in the Tang dynasty when the flattened petals of the lotus decorated Buddhist paintings, stone tiles and various artefacts. These panels vary in number but they are usually six or eight according to the size of the dish. Flowers, fruit, birds and sacred emblems are adopted as decorations and the simplified leafy peach motif becomes especially popular in both China and Persia. In the 17th century Persian potters reinterpret the human figures copied from Chinese models in a comic manner.

Historical context note

Persian blue and white ceramics were primarily produced during the rule of the Safavid Dynasty in Iran (early 16th century to early 18th century). Iranian potters were almost exclusively preoccupied with making wares in the styles of Chinese blue-and-white porcelain some close copies and some more fanciful. Echoes of earlier traditions remained, in particular in the black-under-turquoise colour scheme that dates back in Iran to the end of the 12th century. Towards the end of the 16th century there was a widening of interest that blossomed in the 17th century to a wide range of styles and techniques in which blue and white plays a dominant but not exclusive role.

Descriptive line

Dish, fritware, painted in underglaze blue and black with a scholar and attendent, Iran, 1600-40.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Crowe, Yolande. Persia and China Safavid Blue and White Ceramics in the Victoria & Albert Museum 1501 -1738 Switzerland: 2002 ISBN 0-9538196-1-2 Worldwide distribution by Thames & Hudson, Cat. no.28, p. 63.


Ceramic; Ceramic glaze



Subjects depicted

Leaves; Flowers (plants); Moustache; Hat; Bowls (vessels); Men




Middle East Section

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