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  • Place of origin:

    Iran (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1640 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Fritware, painted and glazed

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 145, case 5, shelf 2

By the 1620s, Iranian potters were producing convincing copies of the Chinese porcelain imports flooding into Iran since the 1580s. The challenge was to produce well-painted Kraak-style designs on thinly walled vessels. Iranian potters invented a technique later copied by the Dutch of outlining there designs with black manganese to create the crisp detail of the Chinese originals. The cobalt used to create the rich blue was fugitive in the firing process and tended to run, distorting the original designs. The black outlines helped to solve this problem.

Physical description

Kendi (drinking vessel or bottle), imitating a Chinese original, fritware, painted in underglaze cobalt blue and manganese black. A reserved lattice covers the flattened rim and its underside. The four panels of the neck are filled with a lozenge dividing two stemmed flowers. Two floral and lappet bands emphasize the shoulder. The body is painted with a rosette, ribbons and tassel under the spout, and four panels with an elongated deer and fence under a cloud, a diving bird, another bird on its back and the leafy head of a strange animal.

Place of Origin

Iran (made)


ca. 1640 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Fritware, painted and glazed

Marks and inscriptions

Imitation Chinese square seal mark
Painted in black on the base under the glaze


Height: 19 cm, Width: 17.3 cm

Descriptive line

Drinking vessel (Kendi), fritware, painted in underglaze cobalt blue and manganese black, made in Iran, about 1640

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, London (Thames & Hudson), 2002: cat. no.113, p.99.

Labels and date

Ceramics Galleries 145.5-6 Precious Cargo []




Glazing (coating); Painted


Ceramics; Islam


Middle East Section

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