Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Tile from an Inscriptional Frieze

Object Name:
Tile from a frieze
dated A.H. 707/A.D. 1308
Iran, Natanz
Stonepaste; underglaze painted in blue, luster-painted on opaque white ground, modeled
H. 15 in. (38.1 cm) W. 15 in. (38.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Emile Rey, 1912
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 455
This tile is one in a series which probably once formed a glittering inscriptional frieze encircling the walls of a 14th-century tomb pavilion located in Natanz, Iran. The cobalt-blue inscription is set against a field of scrolling vines, wherein tiny birds perch amongst leafy foliage, some alighting upon the letters themselves. The frieze likely sat close to eye level, permitting the intricacies of the tile's drawing to be admired, while crowning a dado of equally opulent star- and cross-shaped tiles.
Inscription: Inscription in Arabic in thuluth script:

شوا[ ل سنة سبع وسبعمایة[

[Shawwa]l of the year A.H. 707 [A.D. March 24–April 22, 1308]

Marking: Arabic: [In the month Shawwal]l, A.H. 707
Shrine of Nur al-Din 'Abd al-Samad at Natanz, Iran (from 1308)

Emile Rey, New York (until 1912; gifted to MMA)
Blair, Sheila S. "The Ilkhanid shrine complex at Natanz." PhD diss., Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University, 1986. pp. 5-7, 21, 50, 64, ill. pl. 47.

Welch, Stuart Cary. The Islamic World. vol. 11. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987. p. 75, ill. fig. 55 (color).

Carboni, Stefano, and Tomoko Masuya. Persian Tiles. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1993. no. 20, p. 25, ill. (b/w).

Masuya, Tomoko. "Persian Tiles on European Walls." Ars Orientalis vol. 30 (2000). p. 40, ill. fig 1 (b/w).

Rossabi, Morris, Charles Melville, James C.Y. Watt, Tomoko Masuya, Sheila S. Blair, Robert Hillenbrand, Linda Komaroff, Stefano Carboni, Sarah Bertelan, and John Hirx. The Legacy of Genghis Khan: Courtly Art and Culture in Western Asia, 1256–1353, edited by Stefano Carboni, and Linda Komaroff. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2002. no. 114, pp. 127, 268, ill. fig. 149 (color).

Ekhtiar, Maryam, Sheila R. Canby, Navina Haidar, and Priscilla P. Soucek, ed. Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1st ed. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. no. 77, p. 120, ill. p. 120 (color).

Related Objects

Tile with Image of Phoenix

Date: late 13th century Medium: Stonepaste; modeled, underglaze painted in blue and turquoise, luster-painted on opaque white ground Accession: 12.49.4 On view in:Gallery 455

Luster Bowl with Winged Horse

Date: late 12th century Medium: Stonepaste; luster-painted on opaque monochrome glaze Accession: 16.87 On view in:Gallery 453

Tile from a Frieze

Date: second half 13th century Medium: Stonepaste; overglaze luster-painted, molded Accession: x.107 On view in:Gallery 455

Tile from a Frieze

Date: 13th century Medium: Stonepaste; inglaze painted in blue and turquoise and luster-painted on opaque white glaze Accession: x.111 On view in:Gallery 455

Tile Depicting Bahram Gur and Azada

Date: ca. 1300 Medium: Stonepaste; inglaze painted in blue, luster-painted on opaque white glaze, modeled Accession: 10.56.2 On view in:Gallery 455