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

Tile

ca. 1444 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

This tile once formed part of the decoration of a madrasah (religious college) in the town of Khargird in eastern Iran. The designer used geometric principles to structure the pattern. Here the stylised plant motifs are arranged around a pair of interlaced stars.

The technique used to create the multi-coloured pattern is known as ‘cuerda seca’. The designer used a greasy substance to draw the pattern on the surface of the tile. The pattern consisted of discrete compartments which were then filled with coloured glazes. The grease kept the different colours separate during firing. It burnt off during the firing process, leaving ‘cuerda seca’ (‘dry cord’) outlines.


Object details
Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
Earthenware under coloured glazes applied in the <i>cuerda seca</i> technique
Brief description
Glazed earthenware tile in the form of a 12-pointed star, Iran (Khargird), about 1444.
Physical description
Large tile in the shape of a 12-pointed star, fritware, decorated in the technique known as 'cuerda seca' ('dry cord'), in which a thin outline of wax is painted around the decorative motifs to stop the pigments from running into each other during the firing process. The main ground of the tile is cobalt blue with the outer edge defined by a turquoise outline. At the centre of the tile is a small 6-pointed star in turquoise, which interlocks with a slightly larger 6-pointed star left in reserve (white). From each of the points of the white star a branch extends which divides into two back-to-back split palmettes. These all join up to form an 8-pointed star, which combines geometric and vegetal forms. Smaller flowers fill each of the points of the 12-pointed star, whose outlines are left in reserve, but details are added in red and turquoise pigments. Lotus-style flowers fill the gap between the interlocking 6-pointed stars at the centre of the tile, and the biomorphic 8-pointed star; these are outlined in red and infilled with gold leaf. A small round flower at the very centre of the tile is also outlined in red and infilled with gold leaf.
Dimensions
  • Diameter: 40cm
Gallery label
Jameel Gallery Star-Shaped Tile Iran, Khargird About 1444 This tile once formed part of the decoration of a madrasah, or college, in the town of Khargird in eastern Iran. The design uses geometrical principles to arrange stylised plant motifs around a pair of interlaced stars. Earthenware under coloured glazes, with gold leaf. Museum no. C.747-1909(2006)
Object history
Thought to have come from the west iwan of the Ghiyathiyyah madrasah, built 1444 at Khargird in Khurasan, Iran, by the vizier of the Timurid ruler Shahrukh
Production
Thought to come from the Ghiyathiyyah madrasah in Khargird, in Khurasan, Iran.
Summary
This tile once formed part of the decoration of a madrasah (religious college) in the town of Khargird in eastern Iran. The designer used geometric principles to structure the pattern. Here the stylised plant motifs are arranged around a pair of interlaced stars.



The technique used to create the multi-coloured pattern is known as ‘cuerda seca’. The designer used a greasy substance to draw the pattern on the surface of the tile. The pattern consisted of discrete compartments which were then filled with coloured glazes. The grease kept the different colours separate during firing. It burnt off during the firing process, leaving ‘cuerda seca’ (‘dry cord’) outlines.
Collection
Accession number
C.747-1909

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

Record createdDecember 23, 2004
Record URL
Download as: JSONIIIF Manifest