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  • Place of origin:

    Iran (made)
    Kirman (probably)

  • Date:

    1640-70 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Fritware, underglaze painted in blue

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 137, The Curtain Foundation Gallery, case 31, shelf 5

The garlic head, a reference to the knop or bulge in the neck, is similar to that on Chinese bottles recovered from the San Diego wreck, a galleon sunk in 1600, a short distance away from Fortune Island, Nasugbu, Philippines, which was laden with Chinese export porcelain.

Physical description

Bottle of fritware, with bulbous body, long neck with knop, known as a "garlic-mouth". Painted in underglaze blue with two stylized irises and their leaves, inspired by Chinese Transitional style tulips, decorate the neck. A band of lighter scrollwork marks the shoulder. A continuous scene with figures runs round the body below rocky islands with huts and trees, and a Transitionalstyle cloud. Part of a blaustrade with a lotus finial separates the usual group of two seated figures wearing hats form another bareheaded and robed figure. There is a band of linked lappets over the base ring. Imitation Chinese "tassel" mark in blue.

The top of the "garlic head" above the knop has been broken off and ground down.

Place of Origin

Iran (made)
Kirman (probably)


1640-70 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Fritware, underglaze painted in blue


Height: 29.8 cm, Diameter: 17.8 cm

Descriptive line

Bottle, fritware, painted in underglaze blue with a design after a Chinese Transitional original (c. 1635); Iran, 1640-70.

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

Crowe, Yolande. Persia and China: Safavid blue and white ceramics in the Victoria & Albert Museum 1501-1738. London: Thames and Hudson, 2002, Cat. 237, p. 152.

Production Note

Y. Crowe, cat. no. 237.




Painted; Glazed

Subjects depicted

Figures (representations); Flowers; Lappets; Scroll-work; Landscapes (representations)




Middle East Section

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