Stonepaste; overglaze painted and leaf gilded (lajvardina)
H. 8 3/8 in. (21.3 cm)
D. 5/8 in (1.6 cm)
Purchase, Ehsan Yarshater and Margaret Mushekian Gifts, 1975
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 455
This cross-shaped tile was decorated using a technique called lajvardina, a term that reference lapis lazuli, a deep blue colored stone containing gold particles. After an initial firing to establish the dark blue and turquoise background, the tile underwent a second firing to set the overglazed details and the carefully cut and placed specks of gold leaf that create a glimmering surface. A nearly symmetrical vine pattern, once covered in gold leaf, is surrounded by gold and black decoration that occupies the background of this tile, which would have been an element in a star-and-cross panel adorning the walls of an Ilkhanid palace, mosque, or mausoleum.
Kirkor Minassian, New York (until d. 1944); [his daughter, Adrienne Minassian, New York, 1944–75; sold to MMA]