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  • Place of origin:

    Jurjan (possibly, recovered)
    Kashan (probably, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1220 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Moulded fritware with turquoise glaze

  • Credit Line:

    Ades Family Collection

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

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

The complex shape of this turquoise ewer shows how potters borrowed designs from contemporary Iranian metalwork. This piece is moulded fritware. Middle Eastern potters developed fritware in response to the challenge of the superior wares imported from China. In the 12th and early 13th centuries, potters in Kashan and other centres in Iran produced fine decorated fritwares in an astonishing range of styles.

The main ingredient in fritware 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. Unlike high-fired Chinese porcelain, low-fired fritware was soft and porous. Like porcelain it was white all the way through and could be used to make convincing substitutes.

Physical description

Moulded fritware ewer with turquoise glaze

Place of Origin

Jurjan (possibly, recovered)
Kashan (probably, made)


ca. 1220 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Moulded fritware with turquoise glaze


Height: 36.5 cm, Diameter: 16 cm

Descriptive line

Moulded fritware ewer with turquoise glaze, Iran (probably Kashan), about 1220.

Labels and date

Turquoise Ewer and Brass Ewer

Kashan ceramics were inspired by two sources. One was imported Chinese porcelain. The other was metalwork made in Iran. The complex shape of the turquoise ewer is a clear example of borrowing from metalwork, as the brass ewer beside it shows.

1 Iran, probably Kashan, about 1220
Fritware under a turquoise glaze
Ades Family Collection

2 Afghanistan, probably Herat, 1200-50
Brass inlaid with silver, copper and a black composition
Museum no. 592-1898 [Jameel Gallery]

Production Note

Said to have been found in Jurjan (Gorgan)




Moulding; Glazing


Ceramics; Containers


Middle East Section

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