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Tile with calligraphy
Place of Origin: Iran, probably Kashan
Date: probably 1220-1230
Materials: Glazed fritware with luster decoration
Style or Ware: Kashan
Dimensions: H. 11 in x W. 12 1/4 in x D. 1 in, H. 28 cm x W. 31.1 cm x D. 2.5 cm
Credit Line: The Avery Brundage Collection
Department: West Asian Art
Collection: Ceramics
Object Number: B60P2134.a
On Display: Yes
Location: Gallery 7

Description

Label:

In addition to luxury lusterwares, glistening luster tiles were created in Kashan by the same potters at the same time for a wealthy clientele to line the walls of palaces, shrines, and mosques. The tiles seen here (B60P2134.A and B60P2134.B) were once part of a monumental frieze. They follow a tripartite format typical for luster tiles of the period: a large molded Koranic inscription in cobalt or turquoise against a carefully decorated luster ground in the middle section, a molded vegetal scroll pattern above and a small abstract or pseudo-calligraphic pattern below. Tiles like these were either set side by side in a palace architectural frieze or around a tiled mihrab (a niche indicating the direction of Mecca) or above a dado of star and cross tiles. The presence of birds (that is, the representation of animals) may seem incompatible with a sacred location such as a mosque or shrine, but there are similar though larger tiles from an early fourteenth-century shrine complex at Natanz in central Iran that also feature birds in the scrolling background decoration and in molded pairs along the upper portion of each tile. It has been suggested by Sheila Blair that they make reference to the popular tradition, "the souls of martyrs are like green birds who will eat the fruits of paradise."

The two tiles are not contiguous.


Label:

In addition to luxury lusterwares, glistening luster tiles were created in Kashan by the same potters at the same time for a wealthy clientele to line the walls of palaces, shrines, and mosques. The tiles seen here (B60P2134.A and B60P2134.B) were once part of a monumental frieze. They follow a tripartite format typical for luster tiles of the period: a large molded Koranic inscription in cobalt or turquoise against a carefully decorated luster ground in the middle section, a molded vegetal scroll pattern above and a small abstract or pseudo-calligraphic pattern below. Tiles like these were either set side by side in a palace architectural frieze or around a tiled mihrab (a niche indicating the direction of Mecca) or above a dado of star and cross tiles. The presence of birds (that is, the representation of animals) may seem incompatible with a sacred location such as a mosque or shrine, but there are similar though larger tiles from an early fourteenth-century shrine complex at Natanz in central Iran that also feature birds in the scrolling background decoration and in molded pairs along the upper portion of each tile. It has been suggested by Sheila Blair that they make reference to the popular tradition, "the souls of martyrs are like green birds who will eat the fruits of paradise."

The two tiles are not contiguous.