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Ewer

  • Place of origin:

    Jingdezhen (made)

  • Date:

    1680-1710 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Porcelain painted in underglaze blue

  • Museum number:

    1581-1876

  • Gallery location:

    Ceramics, Room 145, case 5, shelf 3

This ewer (aftaba) was acquired for the Museum in Iran. The shape imitates a South Asian metalware ewer which is usually accompanied by a basin. It was made at the Jingdezhen kilns in south-wast China for export to India or the Middle East, where these ewers and basin sets were used for handwashing. The Hindus were expected to wash their hands before and after meals, while the Koran commands the faithful to wash their hands before prayer.

In the 17th century, the ruling courts of India were immensely wealthy. They had collected Chinese blue-and-white porcelain since the Yuan dynasty. While the ewer may have been made for the South Asia market, that it was found in Iran suggests that it may have been purchased by South Asian merchants who were based in Isfahan in the Safavid dynasty.

The Chinese blue-painted decoration is typical of the export style found at the end of the seventeeth century indiscriminately applied to wares for the Middle East and Europe.

Place of Origin

Jingdezhen (made)

Date

1680-1710 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Porcelain painted in underglaze blue

Dimensions

Diameter: 17.8 cm, Height: 28.0 cm

Object history note

Object acquired in Iran, but imitates a South Asian metalware prototype. It may have been made for the South Asia merchants who were based in Isfahan in the Safavid dynasty.

Descriptive line

Porcelain ewer painted in underglaze blue, Jingdezhen, China, Qing dynasty, Kangxi reign, ca. 1680-1710

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

Kerr, Rose and Luisa E. Mengoni Chinese Export Ceramics London: V&A Publishing, 2011, p.108, pl.154

Labels and date

Chinese ewer with South Asian metalwork shape
China, Jingdezhen, about 1680-1710
Acquired in Iran
Museum no. 1581-1876 [July 2009]

Materials

Porcelain; Cobalt blue

Techniques

Painted

Categories

China in Persia; Ceramics; Porcelain

Collection

East Asia Collection

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