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Jar

  • Place of origin:

    Iznik (probably, made)
    Turkey (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1480 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Fritware, underglaze painted in blue, glazed

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased with the assistance of the Bryan Bequest and The Art Fund

  • Museum number:

    C.57-1952

  • Gallery location:

    Islamic Middle East, Room 42, The Jameel Gallery, case 6W

This is one of the first pieces of fritware to be made under the Ottoman sultans. The jar is one of a group with decoration painted under the glaze in blue and white. Experts believe that this group is probably the first with this type of decoration made in northwest Turkey in the reign of Sultan Mehmed II (1451-1481). It stands at the beginning of the great tradition of ceramic production associated with the small town of Iznik.
The decoration of these early pieces is in the style developed from the 1460s at the court of Mehmed II. Ceramic experts used to call it the Abraham of Kutahya style. More recently it has been renamed the Baba Nakkash style. This is because it resembles designs on paper thought to be by Baba Nakkash. He seems to have been head of the palace scriptorium (a room set aside for writing) in the relevant period.
The decoration of the main body of the jar is divided into three horizontal bands. The wider central band has a double scrollwork pattern reserved (showing through in the body colour) on a cobalt-blue ground. The bands at the shoulder and above the foot have peony scrolls in blue on white. Two plain white torus mouldings divide the narrow bands of decoration on the neck and the foot. These mouldings are one of several features that also appear in Ottoman work in precious metal. However, the main body is shaped like a Chinese porcelain jar, and the blue-and-white colour scheme also originated in China.

Physical description

Globular jar, with short neck curling out at the lip and a near-symmetrical foot. The decoration, painted under the glaze in blue and white, is in the court style developed in the reign of Sultan Mehmed II (ruled 1451-1481); formerly known as the Abraham of Kutahya style in a ceramics context, it was renamed the Baba Nakkash style by Julian Raby by analogy with designs on paper attributed to this man, who seems to have been head of the palace scriptorium in the relevant period. The decoration of the main body of the jar is divided into three horizontal bands. In the wider central register a double scrollwork pattern -- split-palmette scrolls over smaller floral scrolls -- is reserved in a cobalt-blue ground, and the band at the shoulder and above the foot have peony scrolls in blue on white. On the neck and the foot the narrow bands of decoration -- a guilloche motif, a interlace pattern, and a row of complex cresting -- divided by two torus mouldings, left plain white.

Place of Origin

Iznik (probably, made)
Turkey (made)

Date

ca. 1480 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Fritware, underglaze painted in blue, glazed

Dimensions

Height: 24.5 cm, Diameter: 23.5 cm

Object history note

Originally in the Kelekian Collection.

Descriptive line

Fritware jar in the so-called Baba Nakkaş style, Turkey (probably Iznik), about 1480.

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

"Making Haste Slowly", Hali vol.24, issue 122 (2002), pp.80-81 (article about the creation of the Middle East Section)
Raby, Julian & Atasoy, Nurhan, Iznik: The Pottery of Ottoman Turkey (London, 1989). Colour figure 276; pp. 39 (fig. 31), 47, 77, 79.
The Arts of Islam. An exhibition organized by the Arts Council of Great Britain in association with the World of Islam Festival Trust. Hayward Gallery, 8 April-4 July 1976. Cat.no.405, p.265.
Lane, Arthur, "Ottoman Pottery of Isnik", Ars Orientalis 2 (1957):pp.45-48, plate 23a
The Kelekian Collection of Persian and Analogous Potteries 1885-1910 (Paris, 1910), cat.no. 102

Labels and date

JAR
Fritware with underglaze painted decoration
TURKEY (IZNIK); about 1490 [Used until 11/2003]
Blue-and-White Jar
Turkey, probably Iznik
About 1480

This jar belongs to a very early phase in Iznik production The patterns reflect the Ottoman court style of the 1460s and 1470s. The mouldings on the neck and foot imitate metalwork. But Chinese porcelain inspired the blue-and-white colour scheme and the white fritware body.

Fritware painted under the glaze

Museum no. C.57-1952 [Jameel Gallery]

Materials

Ceramic

Techniques

Thrown

Subjects depicted

Split palmette; Peonies

Categories

Islam

Collection

Middle East Section

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