Kashan Lustreware Vase


1200 AD to 1220 AD


12.2″ (31.0cm) high x 7.3″ (18.5cm) wide




Central Asia

Gallery Location



The Seljuk era, especially the later period c. 1150-1250, is rightly regarded as a Golden Age in Islamic art. Although this was manifest in a wide variety of media, including glass, wood and metal- the developments in ceramic production were arguably the most significant. Kashan lustreware is considered superior in quality to all others.

The underglaze painting tradition, once developed, was to have continuing use in Islamic ceramics, and changes in style and colour scheme mark successive phases. Under Mongol rule in the late 13th century, the style previously seen on Kashan ceramics gradually changes. Occasional dashes of turquoise begin to indicate an interest in expanding the underglaze palette. Figural representations begin to witness a decline to be replaced by geometric designs with a variety of arabesque patterns used as fillers, clearly seen on this vase.

The body is of globular form with a slender tapering neck joined to a wide flaring faceted mouth. The middle part of the body depicts arabesque medallions being outlined by cobalt blue, no human representations are visible. A Pseudo – Kufic inscription decorates the lower rim of the vase; further bands of script appear on the neck and below the rim. The neck of the vase consists of a very simple circular motif. The surface of the upper body of the vase has a scroll decoration, with a light dash of cobalt blue, giving it a vibrant appearance. Precise delicate lines of blue highlight the entire decoration of the vase.

The most significant step forward made by the Persian potters of this period was undoubtedly the invention of underglaze painting with the addition of new colour pigments. This piece is a rare and delightful example of the genre.

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