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  • Place of origin:

    Iran (made)

  • Date:

    1650-1700 (made)
    1800-75 (mounting)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Fritware, lustre decoration; brass, engraved

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 137, The Curtain Foundation Gallery, case 31, shelf 6

In 19th century Qajar Iran, before a contemporary export market had emerged, a commercial market for historical artefacts arose, fuelled by Western collectors and museums. Historically, fragmentary material culture, particularly ceramics, including 17th century Safavid fritware, and Chinese porcelain, which had been damaged through use, was often repaired or re-purposed with metal mounts, frequently brass, to replace missing spouts, handles, lids and necks. Many examples were acquired for the Victoria and Albert Museum by Major-General Sir Robert Murdoch Smith (1835-1900) in Iran in the 1870s and 1880s. Among these is a large corpus embellished with a minutely engraved repertoire of figures from 19th century Iranian visual culture: youthful Qajar princes, veiled women, dervishes, acrobats, as well as monstrous supernatural beings, known as divs, and a range of bizarre humanoid creatures. These mounted vessels of Safavid fritware are therefore couched in a Qajar environment and re-fitted according to contemporary taste.

Physical description

Bottle, fritware, blue slip, covered with a transparent colourless glaze, painted with ruby-coloured lustre with solid bands above an interlace arabesque scroll band above a broad band of swirling foliage incorporating a vase. The neck and side opening are later mounted with chased brass converting the bottle into a kalian or water pipe base.

Place of Origin

Iran (made)


1650-1700 (made)
1800-75 (mounting)



Materials and Techniques

Fritware, lustre decoration; brass, engraved


Height: 23.2 cm, Diameter: 13 cm

Descriptive line

Bottle converted to a kalian or water-pipe, fritware, blue slip, glazed and painted with ruby-coloured lustre; Iran, 1650-1700; later mounts of chased brass, 19th century.

Production Note

The brass mounts are 19th century


Fritware; Brass


Glazed; Chased; Lustre; Mounted

Subjects depicted



Ceramics; Earthenware


Middle East Section

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