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Bowl

  • Place of origin:

    Iran (made)

  • Date:

    1260-1350 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Fritware with underglaze painting

  • Museum number:

    C.724-1909

  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 137, The Curtain Foundation Gallery, case 26, shelf 1

This bowl is an example of a type of ceramic that became very popular under the Ilkhanids. It is known as 'Sultanabad ware' after the place it was first found. However, these wares were probably made at Kashan - the main centre of pottery production in Iran before the Mongol invasions of the early 13th century, which continued to operate during the Ilkhanid period (1256-1353).

The Mongol invasions created a close link between the Middle East and China as both regions came to be ruled by the Mongol viceroys. In China this was known as the Yuan dynasty. These dynasties maintained close cultural links with each other through trade, by sea and land, along the silk route. This created a flow of many new artistic motifs from China into the Middle East such as the dragon, the phoenix and the lotus blossom.

A common subject of the Sultanabd ware were animals, especially birds of all kinds like the present bowl shows, agianst the backdrop of dense foliage.

Physical description

Bowl of fritware, of round shallow shape on small foot. The interior is decorated with underglaze painting in blue, turquoise and black, with a bird against a background of dense foliage. The border with small panels of blue and turquoise within a black band. Exterior with scattered dots and oblique lines.

Place of Origin

Iran (made)

Date

1260-1350 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Fritware with underglaze painting

Dimensions

Height: 6.4 cm, Diameter: 16.2 cm

Historical context note

Fritware with underglaze painting in blue, turquoise and black. This bowl represents a type of ceramic ware that became very popular under the Ilkhanids. It is known as 'Sultanabad ware' after the place where it was first found, but these wares were probably made at Kashan - the main centre of pottery production in Iran before the Mongol invasions of the early 13th century, and which continued to operate during the Ilkhanid period (1256-1353).

The Mongol invasions created a close link between the Middle East and China, as both regions came to be ruled by Mongol viceroys. The Ilkhanids ruled Iran at the same time as the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368) ruled China. These dynasties maintained close cultural links with each other through trade, by sea and land, along the silk route. This created a flow into the Middle East of many artistic motifs from China. The dragon, phoenix and lotus flower became particularly popular in Islamic art from this time onwards.

A common subject of the 'Sultanabad' ware were animals, especially birds of all kinds like the present bowl shows, against the background of dense foliage.

Descriptive line

Bowl of fritware, with underglaze painting in blue, black and turquoise, Iran, ca.1260-1350.

Production Note

This type of ware is known as 'Sultanabad ware' after where it was first found, but was probably made at Kashan.

Materials

Fritware

Techniques

Underglazing; Painted

Subjects depicted

Bird

Categories

Islam; Ceramics

Collection

Middle East Section

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