Dish thumbnail 1
Dish thumbnail 2
+9
images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Islamic Middle East, Room 42, The Jameel Gallery

Dish

1208 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

The verses surrounding the polo player on this dish suggest that he represents an unattainable object of desire. One poem reads:

‘It has not been my habit, where lust is concerned,
To speak of the pain in my heart to anyone.
Despite this, I wish to say one thing:
I have died for love of you! Respond to my cry for help!’

In many Islamic societies, scenes containing humans and animals were a common type of decoration in non-religious contexts. The source of this imagery was usually poetry, the most highly esteemed form of secular literature.

Luxury copies of narrative poems were often illustrated with fine paintings, and the more familiar episodes were depicted on palace walls and objects. Love lyrics accompanied portrayals of beautiful young men and women. Odes in praise of the ruler inspired enthronement scenes. The recitation of poems at court was depicted, as were princely activities such as hunting and, as here, playing polo.


Object details
Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
Fritware with lustre decoration
Brief description
Dish with lustre-painted representation of a young polo player surrounded by amorous verses, Iran (probably Kashan), 1208.
Physical description
White bowl with lustre-painted figure of a polo player on a horse, surrounded by dense ornament including conch-like leaves and birds.
Dimensions
  • Diameter: 35.2cm
Style
Marks and inscriptions
amorous poetry (Persian; around outside of central composition)
Gallery label
  • Jameel Gallery 10–12 Dish and Bowls Iran, probably Kashan 1180–1220 On each vessel, a single image is accompanied by verses in Persian concerned with frustrated love. The figures depicted stand for those who are loved but who do not love in return. On the lustre dish, a young prince rides out to play polo. The first bowl shows one youth offering another a glass of wine, while his companion watches. The gazelle on the second bowl is a metaphor for elusive beauty, which flees as the huntsman approaches. 10 Fritware with lustre over the glaze Dated 1208 Museum no. C.51-1952 Purchased with the assistance of the National Art Collections Fund and the Bryan Bequest (Jameel Gallery)
  • DISH Fritware painted in gold lustre, with spots of colour, depicting a polo-player PERSIAN (KASHAN); dated 604 A.H. (1207 A.D.)(Old label)
Credit line
Purchased with Art Fund support and the Byran Bequest
Subjects depicted
Summary
The verses surrounding the polo player on this dish suggest that he represents an unattainable object of desire. One poem reads:



‘It has not been my habit, where lust is concerned,

To speak of the pain in my heart to anyone.

Despite this, I wish to say one thing:

I have died for love of you! Respond to my cry for help!’



In many Islamic societies, scenes containing humans and animals were a common type of decoration in non-religious contexts. The source of this imagery was usually poetry, the most highly esteemed form of secular literature.



Luxury copies of narrative poems were often illustrated with fine paintings, and the more familiar episodes were depicted on palace walls and objects. Love lyrics accompanied portrayals of beautiful young men and women. Odes in praise of the ruler inspired enthronement scenes. The recitation of poems at court was depicted, as were princely activities such as hunting and, as here, playing polo.
Bibliographic references
  • Lane, Arthur. Early Islamic Pottery. London: Faber and Faber, 1947. 52p., ill.; pp. 39, 40, plate 62A (ex Kelekian Collection)
  • Watson, Oliver. Persian Lustre Ware. London: Faber and Faber, 1985. ISBN 0-571-13235-9. Colour Plate E, pp. 90, 98, 104, 108, 109, 198
  • Tim Stanley (ed.), with Mariam Rosser-Owen and Stephen Vernoit, Palace and Mosque: Islamic Art from the Middle East, London, V&A Publications, 2004pp.77, 83, 91, 122
  • Verdi, Richard. Saved!: 100 Years of the National Art Collections Fund, London, Hayward Gallery and the National Gallery, 2003
Collection
Accession number
C.51-1952

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Record createdNovember 7, 2003
Record URL
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