Bowl with a Horseman Spearing a Serpent, Tin-glazed earthenware, Spanish

Bowl with a Horseman Spearing a Serpent

late 1300s or early 1400s
Made in probably Málaga, Spain
Tin-glazed earthenware
Overall: 3 5/8 x diam. 17 5/16 in. (9.2 x diam. 44 cm)
depth of dish: 3 in. (7.6 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of George Blumenthal, 1941
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 307
The city of Málaga in the Islamic kingdom of Granada was one of the earliest centers for the production of lusterware in Spain. The virtuosity of its wares, notable for their dense patterns of shimmering gold, often accented with blue, was renowned. One medieval writer, describing the extraordinary reach of Málagan ceramics, claimed that "all countries clamor for it." The choice of decoration was sometimes indebted to Islamic motifs but could also be drawn from Western imagery, as is the case with this representation of a horseman spearing a serpent, perhaps inspired by the legend of Saint George and the dragon.
#3180. Basin with a Horseman Spearing a Serpent
For Audio Guide tours and information, visit
Sigismond Bardac, Paris (from at least 1903); [possibly Dikran G. Kelekian, Cairo, Paris, and New York (sold ca. 1909)]; George and Florence Blumenthal, Paris and NY (ca. 1909? or least 1927-1941)
The Alhambra Museum. "Los jarrones de la Alhambra: simbología y poder," October 10, 2006–March 4, 2007.

Migeon, Gaston. "L'Exposition des Arts Musulmans au Musée des Arts Décoratifs." Les Arts 16 (April 1903). p. 27, ill. p. 9.

Migeon, Gaston, Max van Berchem, and Clement Huart, ed. Exposition des Arts Musulmans: Catalogue Descriptif. Paris: Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs, 1903. no. 601, p. 76.

Rubinstein-Bloch, Stella. Catalogue of the Collection of George and Florence Blumenthal, New York: Volume 3, Works of Art, Mediaeval and Renaissance. Paris: A. Lévy, 1926. pl. XXXII.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Masterpieces in the Collection of George Blumenthal: A Special Exhibition. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1943. no. 35.

Frothingham, Alice Wilson. Lustreware of Spain. New York: Hispanic Society of America, 1951. pp. 91–92, 175, fig. 55.

Ainaud de Lasarte, Juan. Cerámica y vidrio. Ars Hispaniae, Vol. 10. Madrid: Editorial Plus-Ultra, 1952. pp. 40, fig. 68.

Husband, Timothy B. "Valencian Lusterware of the Fifteenth Century: An Exhibition at the Cloisters." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 29, no. 1 (Summer 1970). pp. 20-21, fig. 1.

Howard, Kathleen, ed. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1983. no. 39, p. 353.

Husband, Timothy B., and Charles T. Little. Europe in the Middle Ages. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987. no. 125, pp. 134-135.

Howard, Kathleen, ed. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. 2nd ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1994. no. 40, p. 387.

del Mar Villafranca Jiménez, Maria, ed. Los Jarrones de la Alhambra, Simbología y Poder. Granada: Patronato of the Alhambra and Generalife, Granada, 2006. no. 32, pp. 204-205, 325.

Ekhtiar, Maryam. "Shimmering Surfaces: Lustre Ceramics of the Islamic World." Arts of Asia 42, no. 5 (September–October 2012). pp. 96–97, fig. 16.