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  • Place of origin:

    Iran (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1587-1642 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Ceramic ware with underglaze painting in two blues and black

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 137, The Curtain Foundation Gallery, case 30, shelf 3

Physical description

The designs on this bottle have been skillfully planned. Pot like body with a neck and bulbous spout attached to one side of the body. A leaf scroll with rosettes runs round the flattened rim and its underside. The four panels of the neck are filled with a lozenge and two separate stemmed flowers. A row of double rectangular panels on the shoulder leads to a band of separate lappets. The shapes of two winged dragons with open jaws and segmented bodies ending in scrolled tails run round the body. Two flowers on a leafy stem separate them. Thirteen lappets lead to the base ring.

Place of Origin

Iran (made)


ca. 1587-1642 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Ceramic ware with underglaze painting in two blues and black


Height: 26.1 cm, Width: 20.5 cm

Object history note

Historical significance: The specific term to describe this bottle is a 'Kendis' which originates from the Sanskrit word 'kendi' meaning water pot. The original style of this pot was produced as export ware in China during the Ming dynasty. The Persian potter reproduced this standard shape for a short while. According to Crowe, the Persian production of 'Kendis' can be placed safely in the second quarter of the 17th century.

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

Kendi or a water pipe, fritware, underglaze painted in blue and black with winged dragon; Iran, 1650.

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

Yolande Crowe, Persia and China: Safavid Blue and White Ceramics in the Victoria and Albert Museum, 1501-1738, Thames & Hudson, Geneva, Switzerland and London, 2002, cat. no. 118, p. 100.


Ceramic; Ceramic glaze



Subjects depicted

Dragons; Leaves; Flowers (plants)




Middle East Section

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