Inscribed: '[Blessings] upon the Prophet' - possibly from Qur'an 33:56 This tile exhibits the use of a rare glaze technique referred to as 'lajvardina'. After a first firing to establish the dark blue or turquoise underglaze background, these tiles were subjected to a second firing to set the carefully cut and placed pieces of gold leaf, creating glittering floral and geometric patterns. In this example, the inscription once was covered entirely in gold.
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Title:Tile from an Inscriptional Frieze
Date:early 14th century
Geography:Attributed to Iran, Kashan
Medium:Stonepaste; modeled, overglaze painted, and gilded (lajvardina)
Dimensions:H. 12 3/4 in. (32.4 cm) W. 12 1/2 in. (31.8 cm) D. 1 5/8 in. (4.1 cm)
Credit Line:Edward C. Moore Collection, Bequest of Edward C. Moore, 1891
"Läjvardinah" Frieze Tile with a Religious Inscription
Several läjvardinah frieze tiles with Qur'anic inscriptions are known; they are all similarly executed and show small differences. In these tiles, the glaze is always cobalt blue. The surface is divided, as usual, into three fields; the upper contains a floral decoration, the main field an inscription, and the lower a chainlike decoration. The floral decoration and the inscription are in relief and gilded; the vine scrolls in the background in the upper and main fields are painted over the glaze in red and white. The inscription of this tile reads: calä al-nabl a... ("[bless] the Prophet..."); the initial alif after the word "Prophet" suggests that the inscription is from Qur'an 33:56. As this sura does not appear on any other läjvardinah frieze tile, it is impossible to associate this tile with others in order to establish its provenance.
[Carboni and Masuya 1993]
Frieze Tlle with Calligraphy
After the technique of "mina'i" was lost in the mid-thirteenth century, a new but similar technique appeared in the Iranian pottery workshops in the 1270s. It is called "lajvardina," meaning "blue color" in Persian. This type of ware was molded, cobalt- or less often turquoise- or white-glazed, fired a second time with added red, black, brown, and white for depiction of details under the glaze, and often gilded. This technique was also applied to tile decoration. Square tiles like this piece were arranged vertically in a line to form an inscriptional frieze or arranged around a mihrab (the prayer niche indicating the direction toward Mecca) to frame its rectangular outline. As common in a square frieze tile, the surface of this tile is divided into three fields: the upper with a floral decoration in relief, the main with inscriptions in relief, the lower with a chainlike decoration. The background in the upper and main fields are filled with vine scrolls painted over the glaze in red and white. The inscription reads "(bless) the Prophet;" most certainly the frieze this tile belonged to included quotations from the Qur'an.
Tomoko Masuya in [Walker et al. 1994]
Inscription: In Arabic in thuluth script: [Blessings] upon the Prophet
Edward C. Moore (American), New York (until d. 1891; bequeathed to MMA)
New York. The Hagop Kevorkian Special Exhibitions Gallery, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Celestial Pen: Islamic Calligraphy," September 28, 1982–February 7, 1983, no catalogue.
New York. Hagop Kevorkian Fund Special Exhibitions Gallery, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Persian Tiles," May 4, 1993–January 2, 1994, no. 29.
Mexico City. Colegio de San Ildefonso. "Arte Islámico del Museo Metropolitano de Arte de Nueva York," September 30, 1994–January 8, 1995, no. 52.
Sarre, Friedrich Dr. Denkmäler Persischer Baukunst : Geschichtliche Untersuchung und Aufnahme Muhammedanischer Backsteinbauten in Vorderasien und Persien. Berlin, 1910. ill. fig. 87, pls. LVII–LVIII.
Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Mohammedan Decorative Arts. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1930. pp. 132, 142, ill. fig. 76 (b/w).
Harari, Ralph, and Richard Ettinghausen. A Survey of Persian Art from Prehistoric Times to the Present, edited by Arthur Upham Pope. vol. I–VI. London and New York: Oxford University Press, 1938. ill. vol. V, pl. 752A.
Lane, Arthur. A Guide to the Collection of Tiles. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1939. p. 8, ill. pl. 4C, (tile from the same set as 91.1.1529).
Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Muhammadan Art. 2nd rev. and enl. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1944. p. 202, ill. fig. 133 (b/w).
Carboni, Stefano, and Tomoko Masuya. Persian Tiles. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1993. no. 29, p. 34, ill. (b/w).
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Daniel S. Walker, Arturo Ponce Guadián, Sussan Babaie, Stefano Carboni, Aimee Froom, Marie Lukens Swietochowski, Tomoko Masuya, Annie Christine Daskalakis-Matthews, Abdallah Kahil, and Rochelle Kessler. "Colegio de San Ildefonso, Septiembre de 1994–Enero de 1995." In Arte Islámico del Museo Metropolitano de Arte de Nueva York. Mexico City: Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, 1994. no. 52, pp. 148–49, ill. (color).
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