Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Ashmolean − Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

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Dish with birds in a landscape

Glossary (2)

fritware, underglaze painting

  • fritware

    Ceramic material composed of ground quartz and small quantities of clay and finely ground frit (frit is obtained by pouring molten glass into water).

  • underglaze painting

    Painting applied to ceramic material before a transparent, or monochrome or coloured glaze for Islamic objects, is applied. The technique was initially developed in China.


    • currently in research collection

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Publications online

  • Islamic ceramics, by James W. Allan

    Islamic Ceramics

    This late example of Safavid blue and white shows vividly the way different styles and traditions were synthesised by the craftsmen-potters of the day. The stream with the goose standing beside it and the flowering prunus tree come straight from Chinese blue and white porcelain designs, as does the upper landscape with birds, cloud scrolls and a single lotus blossom. So too the brownish rim, which is commonly found on seventeenth century Chinese porcelain. The central cypress and the irises on the right hand side of the dish are taken from the lustre tradition (nos. 34-35 [EAX.3080 & EAX.1207]), and derive ultimately from book illumination. The carnations, on the left, are rare items on Persian blue and white. However they do appear on contemporary Kirman polychrome wares, in which they are used alongside a red – unique in Persian ceramics of the period. They may well have been introduced, therefore, by a potter who was acquainted with Iznik ceramics, on which, combined with a strong sealing-wax red, they are a standard floral element from the second quarter of the sixteenth century onwards (no. 47 [WA1888.CDEF.C324]).

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