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True Colors: The Damascus Room

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Bowl with Central Fish Motif

Object Name:
Dish
Date:
13th century
Geography:
Iran, Kashan
Culture:
Islamic
Medium:
Stonepaste; incised and polychrome painted under transparent glaze
Dimensions:
H. 2 7/8 in. (7.3 cm) Diam. 13 3/8 in. (34 cm)
Classification:
Ceramics
Credit Line:
H.O. Havemeyer Collection, Gift of Horace Havemeyer, 1945
Accession Number:
45.153.1
  • Description

    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.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Marking: -Sticker on foot: 130
    -Sticker on foot: 160/757/775010
    -Sticker on foot: Property of Horace Havemeyer

  • Provenance

    H. O. Havemeyer Collection, New York (by 1931–45; gifted to MMA)

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
450577

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