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Molded Vessel in the Form of a Mother and Child

Object Name:
Figural vessel
Date:
12th–13th century
Geography:
Iran
Culture:
Islamic
Medium:
Stonepaste; molded, painted under a transparent turquoise glaze
Dimensions:
H. 8 1/16 in. (20.5 cm) W. 5 3/8 in. (13.7 cm) D. 3 in. (7.6 cm)
Classification:
Ceramics
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Lionberger Davis, 1965
Accession Number:
65.194.2
  • Description

    This object in the shape of a woman cradling a baby belongs to a large assemblage of ceramic figurines, whose original purpose is enigmatic.
    Its lower part was left devoid of the turquoise glaze probably to avoid sticking with other objects stacked in the kiln. One can see there the black pigment painted directly on the body.
    Despite it unrefined appearance, the painted decoration quite precisely defines the details of the figures, such as the woman’s headdress, braids, and cross-hatched breasts. The marks painted on her cheeks follow a Central Asian iconography and are probably related to apotropaic rituals. They might represent tattoos or scars really practiced by women, as charms or applied as a form of facial adornment.

  • Provenance

    [ Kirkor Minassian, New York, by 1940]; J. Lionberger Davis, Princeton, NJ (until 1965; gifted to MMA)

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
451809:3

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