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IRAN, probably KASHAN




Late 13th-early 14th c.


Frit body, overglaze polychrome and gilt decoration, opaque blue glaze (lajvardina ware)


30.2 cm (h.), 16.1 cm (diam.)


Purchase, gift of Harry A. Norton, inv. 1934.Ea.6


Archeology and World Cultures

After the Mongol invasions, the patronage and production of ceramics resumed in Iran, but not without a significant shift reflecting new tastes. Kashan continued to be the major centre of luxury ceramics. Mina’i stopped being produced, but there emerged a new overglaze polychrome ware whose process was identical, although the colour scheme is different. It is characterized by red, black and white decoration and leaf gilding on a blue glaze to which it owes its name, lajvardina, from the Persian lajvard, meaning “lapis lazuli.” The nature of the decorative program also changed. Densely knit abstract designs, epigraphy and chinoiserie came to replace the figurative court and love scenes found on mina’i. The gold lotuses and flying ducks or mythical birds known as simurghs that ornament this sumptuous lajvardina rooster-head ewer bear out the important presence and further penetration of Chinese-inspired designs, which held not only for ceramics but for all the arts of the Ilkhanid dynasty (1252/74-1335), most notably painting.

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