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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.414-1918

  • 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.

The bowl represents some of the characteristics of Ilkhanid wares that are attributed to Sultanabad. Such is the decoration in slip painting that covers interior and exterior except for the low foot. Black is used for the outlines of the decoration. The lobed shape of the bowl copies Chinese bowls which were imported in large numbers at this time. Single animals in a densely foliated background, like the present bowl, were a popular subject during the Ilkhanid period.

Physical description

Fritware bowl of shallow form with lobed walls, on small foot, decorated with underglaze painting in black, blue and turquoise on a white slip. The interior shows a round medallion containing a dotted hare against the backdrop of dense foliage, the lobes are decorated in the 'panel-style' filled with floral designs.

Place of Origin

Iran (made)

Date

1260-1350 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Fritware with underglaze painting

Dimensions

Height: 5.4 cm, Diameter: 17.7 cm

Object history note

Formerly the property of Henry Wallis (d.1916), father of the vendor, exhibited as loan at the museum in1908-1911 and 1917 till the date of purchase. The bowl may be compared with two other pieces, formerly in the collection of Henry Wallis, illustrated in his "Notes on some examples of early Persian pottery" 1887, figs.1-2. It was stated by him in 1910 to have come from excavations in Persia about 40 years previously. The plate is one of five of similar character of the above named work ascribed by him to the 13th century. He there states that they were discovered in 1886 "by workmen engaged in digging the foundation for a house in a Persian town".

Descriptive line

Bowl of fritware with underglaze painting, 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

Subjects depicted

Foliage; Medallion; Hare; Floral

Categories

Islam; Ceramics

Collection

Middle East Section

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