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Ewer

  • Place of origin:

    Kashan (made)

  • Date:

    1175-1200 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Fritware with opaque cobalt-blue glaze and lustre-painted decoration

  • Credit Line:

    Salting Bequest

  • Museum number:

    C.1954-1910

  • Gallery location:

    Islamic Middle East, Room 42, The Jameel Gallery, case 2W

The decoration on this ewer shows how Iranian potters used lustre only for outlines, details and backgrounds. The main motifs, such as the seated figures on this large ewer, were left in white against a lustre ground.

The technique of lustre decoration on ceramics was first developed in Iraq in the 9th century. About 1170, the lustre technique was taken from Syria to the city of Kashan in Iran, where this piece was made.

With this technique potters made a glazed vessel or tile with little or no decoration in the normal way. When the piece had cooled, they painted a design over the glaze in metallic compounds. The pot or tile was then fired again, this time with a restricted supply of oxygen. In these conditions, the metallic compounds broke down, and a thin deposit of copper or silver was left on the surface of the glaze. When polished, this surface layer reflected the light.

Physical description

Lustre-painted jug with seated figures on body and animals running around shoulder, blue glaze under the foot.

Place of Origin

Kashan (made)

Date

1175-1200 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Fritware with opaque cobalt-blue glaze and lustre-painted decoration

Dimensions

Height: 27.5 cm, Diameter: 16.5 cm

Descriptive line

Lustre-painted ewer with seated figures, Iran (probably Kashan), 1170-1200.

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

Watson, Oliver. Persian Lustre Ware. London: Faber and Faber, 1985. ISBN 0-571-13235-9. Pl. 28, pp. 46, 48, 67

Labels and date

JUG
White earthenware painted in gold lustre, with blue glaze under foot.
PERSIAN (RAYY); late 12th or early 13th century.
Salting Bequest [Used until 11/2003]
Lustre Ewer with Seated Men
Iran, probably Kashan
1170-1200

About 1170, the lustre technique was taken from Syria to the city of Kashan in Iran, an important centre of fritware production. The Iranians used lustre only for outlines, details and backgrounds, so that the main motifs were left in white against a lustre ground.

Fritware with colour in and lustre over the transparent glaze

Museum no. C.1954-1910. Bequest of George Salting [Jameel Gallery]

Production Note

Formerly thought to have been made in Rayy.

Materials

Fritware

Techniques

Lustre

Subjects depicted

Figures; Animals

Categories

Ceramics; Lustre ware; Islam

Collection

Middle East Section

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