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Tile with Niche Design and Inscription

Object Name:
Tile with niche design
Date:
early 14th century
Geography:
Iran, Kashan
Culture:
Islamic
Medium:
Stonepaste; inglaze painted in blue, luster-painted on opaque white glaze, modeled decoration
Dimensions:
H. 19 3/4 in. (50.4 cm) W. 18 3/4 in. (47.6 cm) D. 3 in. (7.6 cm) without mount: H. 19 in. (48.3 cm) W. 18 in. (45.7 cm) Wt. 61 lbs (27.7 kg)
Classification:
Ceramics-Tiles
Credit Line:
H.O. Havemeyer Collection, Gift of Horace Havemeyer, 1940
Accession Number:
40.181.4
  • Description

    Inscribed: "He is God, beside whom there is no god, the Knower of the unseen and the seen. He is the Merciful, the Compassionate," (Qur'an 59: 22)

    This tile originally formed the upper part of a prayer niche, or mihrab. In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, a family of potters headed by the patriarch Abu Tahir, and carrying the nisba (epithet) Kashani (indicating their origins in the city of Kashan) were active in the creation of large, luster-glazed composite panel mihrabs. Large-scale, niche-design tiles such as this one formed the centerpiece of the groupings these potters created for mosques and madrasas throughout the region.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: In Arabic; in thuluth script, on arch from the lower right corner:

    "He is God, besides whom there is no other God. The Knower of the unseen and the seen, the Benificent, the Merciful." (Qur'an chapter 59, verse 22)

  • Provenance

    H. O. Havemeyer Collection, New York (by 1930–40; gifted to MMA)

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
450361

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