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  • Place of origin:

    Iran (made)

  • Date:

    1616-1642 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    White earthenware painted in two blues and black

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 137, The Curtain Foundation Gallery, case 29, shelf 6

Physical description

The eight petal panels cover both flange and well. They are filled with either a slanting tube, two circles, a flower or a vase. A double circle surrounds the complex central lake scene representing a pagoda, rock formations with trees and a perched bird, a fishing boat with sail, a pleasure barge and small figures. Both vessels are half-moon shaped in the Persian version. The half-circle motif above the prow of the barge imitates a reed hut. The wide omega-shape at the top reproduces Chinese hills creating depth. The outer flange is decorated with two sets of tufts of grass, two butterflies, two Y-shaped rocks as dividers and four small vegetable clusters.

Place of Origin

Iran (made)


1616-1642 (made)



Materials and Techniques

White earthenware painted in two blues and black


Height: 6.9 cm, Width: 43.3 cm, Width: 22 cm base ring

Object history note

This object was purchased in Tehran in 1873, by Robert Murdoch Smith on behalf of the Museum. In his first bulk acquisition for the South Kensington Museum (today the V&A), Murdoch Smith had bought "a considerable collection" of over 100 examples of metalwork, ceramic, inlaid woodwork and textile from different local sources, including French diplomat Emile Charles Bernay and four art-dealers: Nasrullah Dellal, Abu'l-Hassan Dellal, Abdul-Husayn and Reza Kashi of Tehran. Many further acquisitions followed in the years 1873-1878 and 1883-1885, most extensively from the art-dealer Jules Richard, long resident in Tehran.

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

Ceramic Dish, blue and white, Iran, 16th century

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

Y. Crowe, Persia and China: Safavid Blue and White Ceramics in the Victoria and Albert Museum 1501-1738, Switzerland 2002, ISBN 0-9538196-1-1, Worldwide distribution by Thames & Hudson, p. 62.
"[One of] 16 large flat plates or dishes for boiled rice; Kashi earthenware" (Robert Murdoch Smith, November 1873, V&A Archives).





Subjects depicted

Circles; Trees; Rocks; Figures; Vase; Boats; Bird; Flower; Tube




Middle East Section

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