Ewer with Molded Inscriptions, Animals and Dancers

Object Name:
last quarter 11th or 12th century
Attributed to Iran
Stonepaste; molded, monochrome glazed
H. 11 1/2 in. (29.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Cora Timken Burnett Collection of Persian Miniatures and Other Persian Art Objects, Bequest of Cora Timken Burnett, 1956
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 453
The choral dance displayed on this ewer is not uncommon on Seljuq stonepaste molded wares. Choral dances performed at the time included the mystic dances of the Sufi practice of sama’ and those related to Zoroastrian worship rituals. This depiction, however, more probably evokes courtly scenes, where dances were performed as a mundane entertainment for prince and nobility.
The inscription mentions the name of the potter, Abu Ahmad Qassa’i, which is an unusual occurrence on early monochrome stonepaste, and points to the fact that this was a specialized and highly regarded form of production.
Inscription: In Persian, in naskh script; on shoulder: [undeciphered].

Most of the inscriptions are unreadable but the name of the potter is clearly seen in Naskhi script and reads as:
عمل ابی احمد قصاعی

Part of the inscription read by Annemarie Schimmel as:
العز الدائم
Cora Timken Burnett, Alpine, NJ (by 1917–d. 1956; bequeathed to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Ceramic Art of the Near East," 1931, no. 92.

Dimand, Maurice S. "The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, May 12 to June 28, 1931." In Loan Exhibition of Ceramic Art of the Near East. New York, 1931. no. 92, p. 22.

"7th January to 28th February, 1931, Royal Academy of Arts, London." In Catalogue of the International Exhibition of Persian Art. 3rd edition ed. London: Royal Academy of Arts, 1931. no. 117 D, F, p. 76.

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. v. II, p. 1620, ill. v. V, pl. 770?.

Yarshater, Ehsan, ed. Encyclopaedia Iranica vol. 5 (1992). p. 777, ill. pl. XCIV (b/w).