Dish thumbnail 1
Dish thumbnail 2
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Islamic Middle East, Room 42, The Jameel Gallery

Dish

1500-1550 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

The decoration on this dish has been painted under the green glaze. It features two fish and a Persian quatrain (a four-line verse).

The body of the dish is fritware, also known as stone paste or quartz paste. Middle Eastern potters developed the material as a response to the challenge posed by Chinese porcelain. The main ingredient was fine quartz powder made by grinding sand or pebbles. Small quantities of white clay and a glassy substance known as frit were added. The clay gave plasticity. The frit helped to bind the body after firing.

This piece was made in the 16th century, when ceramic production in Iran was on a modest scale. When the capital moved to Isfahan around 1600, the production of luxury dishes and wall tiles in a wide variety of styles and techniques rapidly increased.


Object details
Category
Object type
Materials and techniques
Fritware, painted under the glaze
Brief description
Dish, fritware, painted in black under a transparent green glaze, the design including a pair of fish and verses in Persian, Iran, possibly Tabriz, 1500-1550.
Physical description
Dish with a foliate rim, decorated in black under a green glaze with fishes and a floral border, with Persian verses below the rim.
Dimensions
  • Diameter: 35.3cm
  • Height: 6.1cm
Style
Marks and inscriptions
ای دل بتریق عاشقی راه یکی است در کشور عشق بنده وشاه یکی است تا ترک دو رنکی نکنی در ره عشق واقف نشوی که نعمت الله یکی است Read بتریق as بطریق (This quatrain is by the Sufi master and poet Shah Ni'matallah (died 1437). The text can be found on-line at https://ganjoor.net/shahnematollah/robaeeshv/sh23/ )
Gallery label
  • Jameel Gallery Safavid Ceramics and Colour Safavid potters created brilliantly coloured ceramics. The effect was often achieved with glazes of a single colour. Many of these wares have moulded or carved decoration. The most unusual appears on bottles made in the 17th century, which bear scenes of people and animals. A second technique used coloured slips, or liquid clay, under the glaze. Potters sometimes carved the slip away to reveal the white body beneath. In other cases, they added designs in white and other slips. 1 Dish with Two Fish Iran 1500–1600 Fritware painted under a green glaze Museum no. 552-1905 (Jameel Gallery)
  • DISH White earthenware painted in black with under green glaze. NORTH PERSIAN; secondhalf of the 15th century. 552-1905 Brought from Kubachi in Daghestan (Caucasus).(Old 133G-1970s)
Object history
Brought from Kubachi (Daghestan).



Arthur Lane suggested that the potter intended to give the dish a turquoise glaze, which is the more traditional colour, but added too much lead to the glaze mixture, which turned it bright green in the firing process. (Lane, 1957, p. 78)
Subjects depicted
Summary
The decoration on this dish has been painted under the green glaze. It features two fish and a Persian quatrain (a four-line verse).



The body of the dish is fritware, also known as stone paste or quartz paste. Middle Eastern potters developed the material as a response to the challenge posed by Chinese porcelain. The main ingredient was fine quartz powder made by grinding sand or pebbles. Small quantities of white clay and a glassy substance known as frit were added. The clay gave plasticity. The frit helped to bind the body after firing.



This piece was made in the 16th century, when ceramic production in Iran was on a modest scale. When the capital moved to Isfahan around 1600, the production of luxury dishes and wall tiles in a wide variety of styles and techniques rapidly increased.
Bibliographic references
  • Lisa Golombek, Robert B. Mason, Gauvin A. Bailey, Tamerlane's tableware : a new approach to the chinoiserie ceramics of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Iran, Costa Mesa, California, 1996, p.152.
  • J. Michael Rogers, 'Ceramics', in R.W. Ferrier (ed.), The Arts of Persia, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1989, pp. 255-70, pl. 25.
  • Ernst J. Grube, 'Notes on the Decorative Arts of the Timurid Period,' in A. Forte et al. (eds.) Gururajamanjarika Studi in Onore di Giuseppe Tucci, Istituto Universitario Orientale, Naples, Vol. 1, 1974, pp. 233-80, fig. 20.
  • Arthur Lane, Later Islamic Pottery. London: Faber and Faber, 1957, pp. 36 & 78, pl. 52A.
  • Arthur Lane, 'The So-called 'Kubachi' Wares of Persia', Burlington Magazine, 75, pp.156-62, pl. Ic.
  • Arthur Upham Pope, A Survey of Persian Art, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1938, pl.788.
  • Seyed Rasoul Mousavi Haji, Morteza Ataie and Maryam Asgariveshareh, بررسی محتوایی وشکلی کتیبه های منظوم فارسی در سفالینه های دوران تیموری وصفوی in فصلنامة علمي- پژوهشي نگره, Summer 1396/2015, no.34, p.24, fig.8, p.25–6.
Collection
Accession number
552-1905

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Record createdApril 3, 2003
Record URL
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