Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Bowl with Central Fish Motif

Object Name:
13th century
Attributed to 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)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Ceramic Art of the Near East," 1931, no. 41.

Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, Smithsonian Institution. "The Logic and Magic of Color," April 20, 1960–August 31, 1960, no. 151.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Splendid Legacy: The Havemeyer Collection," March 27, 1993–June 20, 1993, not in catalog.

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.

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