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Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Cross-Shaped Tile

Object Name:
Cross-shaped tile
second half 13th–early 14th century
Made in Iran
Stonepaste; overglaze painted and leaf gilded (lajvardina)
H. 8 3/8 in. (21.3 cm) D. 5/8 in (1.6 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Ehsan Yarshater and Margaret Mushekian Gifts, 1975
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 455
This cross-shaped tile was decorated using a technique called lajvardina, a term that reference lapis lazuli, a deep blue colored stone containing gold particles. After an initial firing to establish the dark blue and turquoise background, the tile underwent a second firing to set the overglazed details and the carefully cut and placed specks of gold leaf that create a glimmering surface. A nearly symmetrical vine pattern, once covered in gold leaf, is surrounded by gold and black decoration that occupies the background of this tile, which would have been an element in a star-and-cross panel adorning the walls of an Ilkhanid palace, mosque, or mausoleum.
Kirkor Minassian, New York (until d. 1944); [his daughter, Adrienne Minassian, New York, 1944–75; sold to MMA]
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