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Dish

  • Place of origin:

    Iran (made)

  • Date:

    1630-1650 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    White earthenware, painted

  • Museum number:

    1111-1876

  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 137, The Curtain Foundation Gallery, case 30, shelf 2

Physical description

Extended brackets on the rim of the dish lead to six panels and their open-ended dividers with jewels. Their top halves are filled with swastikas, scrolls or birds and small clouds. In the petal panels two peaches, with a smaller one on a leafy stem, alternate with a dense flower spray and bird. The six-bracket Kraak frame surrounds a peculiar flattened vase with odd dotted roots. One large Kraak flower with typical leaves emerges from its stripy neck. Two strange marks are placed on either side of the vase. It is possible that the flower was painted first which did not allow enough space for an elegant vase. The six outer panels are filled with small leafy peaches, their dividers with a comma.

Place of Origin

Iran (made)

Date

1630-1650 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

White earthenware, painted

Dimensions

Height: 5.2 cm, Width: 27.3 cm, Width: 13.2 cm

Historical context note

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. The outline was also used on Central Asian slip-painted wares and possibly Sultanabad dishes. The occasional late Yuan dish brings the design forward in time and as a single unit it is used in bands of panels on the shoulder or the base of 15th century Chinese ewers and vases. Plain dividers between the panels first appear on jars around 1500 and more often during the Jiajing rule. The panels are eventually enhanced with jewel symbols and flowers when used as a framing device on Kraak dishes.

In addition to the regular demands of the Asian market, specific orders, first from the Portuguese then the Dutch, called for an increased production of large dishes and eventually new shapes. At this stage these striking bands of petal panels reappear and are copied with gusto by the Persian potter along with other Chinese ornaments. 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.

Descriptive line

Dish with six outer decorative panels containing swastikas, scrolls, birds, clouds, flower sprays and peaches, white earthenware painted in blue and black; Iran, 1630-1650.

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 0-9538196-1-2, Worldwide distribution by Thames & Hudson, p. 65.

Materials

Earthenware (white)

Techniques

Painting (image-making)

Subjects depicted

Flowers; Clouds; Swastikas; Birds; Scrolls (motifs); Peaches

Categories

Ceramics

Collection

Middle East Section

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