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  • Place of origin:

    Kirman (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1640-60 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Fritware, painted unter the glaze

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Islamic Middle East, Room 42, The Jameel Gallery, case WN10, shelf 2

The decoration on this magnificent jar, one of the largest in the collection, was inspired by native Islamic designs found throughout the decorative arts, in metalware, bookbinding, carpet design and Iznik tiles. The pattern is based on a grid or latticework design which helps to organize the floral motifs, with stylized blossoms added at the interstices.

These fantastic flowers are based on Iranian interpretations of the Chinese lotus motifs, introduced in the Timurid period, while the lines loosely form stems with half leaves or split palmettes. The closest parallels are found in sixteenth-century Iznik tiles, with similar designs on flat surfaces. Another source for the decorative scheme is found on seventeenth-century carpets made in Kerman, where this jar was probably made.

Chinese blue-and-white porcelain had been popular in Iran since the 14th century, almost immediately imitated by Iranian potters. Production rose sharply in the 17th century, when Chinese wares were unavailable because of political strife in China. Some of the Iranian wares were close imitations of Chinese originals and even had copies of Chinese maker’s marks on the base. Other items were obviously inspired by Chinese pottery but have a shape or (as here) decoration that is typically Iranian.

Physical description

Fritware storage jar decorated with a network of floral motifs in blue on white, with a brass collar. The placing of the flowers on the body has been carefully organised so that three rows of large autumn lotuses are set on the wider parts of the jar with alternating summer lotuses. At the top, in the middle and at the bottom, three rows of stylised rounded flowers and buds with their less imposing forms complete the lattice. The shapes of the leaves vary from serrated to elongated and include the flaming finials of the more conventional Kraak leaf.

Place of Origin

Kirman (probably, made)


1640-60 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Fritware, painted unter the glaze


Height: 52.5 cm, Diameter: 41.5 cm

Descriptive line

Large storage jar with Iranian decoration in blue and white; Iran (probably Kirman), 1640-60.

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

Tim Stanley ed., with Mariam Rosser-Owen and Stephen Vernoit, Palace and Mosque: Islamic Art from the Middle East, London, V&A Publications, 2004; p. 71, plate 82
Yolande Crowe, Persia and China: Safavid Blue and White Ceramics in the Victoria and Albert Museum 1501-1738, Switzerland/London, 2002, p. 156, cat. no. 248.

Labels and date

Jameel Gallery

Large Storage Jar with Iranian Decoration
Iran, probably Isfahan

This jar is one of the few blue-and-white vessels decorated with a local Iranian pattern - a trellis set with large blossoms. Yet even in this design there is a strong Chinese element, as the highly stylised flowers were originally derived from Chinese lotus motifs.

Fritware painted under the glaze, with later brass collar

Museum no. 692-1902 [Jameel Gallery]





Subjects depicted

Stylized flowers


Ceramics; Containers


Middle East Section

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