Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Bowl with Central Fish Motif

Object Name:
13th century
Iran, Kashan
Stonepaste; incised and polychrome painted under transparent glaze
H. 2 7/8 in. (7.3 cm) Diam. 13 3/8 in. (34 cm)
Credit Line:
H.O. Havemeyer Collection, Gift of Horace Havemeyer, 1945
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 453
Here, the radial blue stripes are bounded by two calligraphic bands painted on the stonepaste body in black pigment. The letters, etched through the pigment to reveal the white body‑fabric below, form an illegible pseudo‑inscription that may have had associations with magic. The motif of swimming fish, frequently depicted on Chinese wares, gained popularity in Kashan ceramics. The juxtaposition of fish with magical letters reinforces the idea that the bowl had talismanic properties.
Marking: -Sticker on foot: 130
-Sticker on foot: 160/757/775010
-Sticker on foot: Property of Horace Havemeyer
H. O. Havemeyer Collection, New York (by 1931–45; gifted to MMA)
Dimand, Maurice S. "The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, May 12 to June 28, 1931." In Loan Exhibition of Ceramic Art of the Near East. New York, 1931. no. 41, p. 11.

"An Exhibition Celebrating the Centennial Anniversary of the Cooper Union, 20th April–31st August, 1960." In The Logic and Magic of Color. New York: Cooper Union Museum, 1960. no. 151, p. 26.

Related Objects

Pierced Jug with Harpies and Sphinxes

Date: dated A.H. 612/ A.D. 1215–16 Medium: Stonepaste; openwork, underglaze-painted, glazed in transparent turquoise Accession: 32.52.1 On view in:Gallery 999

Dish depicting a Wedding Procession

Date: first quarter 13th century Medium: Stonepaste; molded, luster-painted on opaque white glaze Accession: 1983.247 On view in:Gallery 451

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 Panel in the form of an Architectural Niche

Date: first half 14th century Medium: Stonepaste; inglaze painted in blue, luster-painted on opaque white glaze, modeled Accession: 09.87 On view in:Gallery 455

Eight-Pointed Star-Shaped Tile

Date: 13th century Medium: Stonepaste; inglaze painted in blue, luster-painted on opaque white glaze Accession: 91.1.106 On view in:Gallery 455