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Bowl

  • Place of origin:

    Iran (made)
    Tabriz (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    1550-1600 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Fritware, underglaze painted in blue

  • Credit Line:

    Supported by the Friends of the V&A

  • Museum number:

    C.232-1985

  • Gallery location:

    Islamic Middle East, Room 42, The Jameel Gallery, case 3

  • Public access description

    This Iranian bowl is an accurate copy of a Chinese original in both its shape and its decoration. Here there are lotus sprays on the outside, and the border around the inside of the rim is a distinctive feature of Chinese porcelains made between 1522 and 1566.

    In the Safavid period (1501-1722) Iranian potters developed new types of fritwares inspired by Chinese blue-and-white porcelain. In fritware, the main ingredient 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 to give plasticity, the frit to bind the body after firing.

    Unlike high-fired Chinese porcelain, low-fired fritware was soft and porous, but like porcelain it was white all the way through and could be used to make convincing substitutes.

  • Physical description

    Fritware bowl, with underglaze painted decoration. There are lotus sprays on the outside, a thin geometric border around the inner rim.

  • Dimensions

    Diameter: 16.3 cm, Height: 7.3 cm

  • Descriptive line

    Bowl, fritware, underglaze painted in cobalt blue after a Chinese original, possibly Tabriz, Iran, Safavid period, 1550-1600

  • Labels and date

    Bowl
    Fritware with underglaze-painted decoration
    PERSIA; about 1400 to 1500 AD
    Given by the Friends of the Victoria and Albert Museum

    A high quality copy of an imported Chinese bowl, faithful to the original in all except the fronds of leaves attached to some of the lotus sprays on the exterior. [Used until 11/2003]
    Blue-and-White Bowls

    The imitation of Chinese blue-and-white porcelain continued in the Middle East until the 18th century. These two bowls are close in date and have the same shape, with a high foot and rolled rim. Yet one was produced in China, and the other in Iran.

    The Chinese bowl bears a reign mark for the years 1426-35. Its decoration suggests it was made much later, but imitating the earlier style.

    The Iranian bowl is an accurate copy of a Chinese original, in both its shape and the decoration of lotus sprays on the outside. The border around the inside of the rim is a distinctive feature of Chinese porcelains made between 1522 and 1566.

    9 China, Jingdezhen
    1550-1650
    Porcelain painted under the glaze
    Museum no. C.44-1930
    Given by Mr Sydney Vacher

    10 Iran, perhaps Tabriz
    1550-1600
    Fritware painted under the glaze
    Museum no. C.232-1985. Gift of the Friends of the V&A [Jameel Gallery]

  • Collection code

    Middle East Section