Deep Dish


On view at The Met Cloisters in Gallery 16

Deep basins of this type were common in affluent houses of the late fifteenth century and probably can be identified with the term bacin which appears in a number of documents. One household is recorded owning 130 bowls and basins of various sorts, while another, in Barcelona, is described as having six lusterware bowls hanging on the wall. The depth of this basin and the wide brim designed for easy carrying would indicate that it was filled with water and was used for washing the hands and face. This may well be the type described in the inventories of King René, duke of Anjou, for the years 1471-1472, as "a large plate of Valencia, tin-enameled with golden foliage," which was kept in his private quarters. The crowns around the brim of the basin may reflect the owner’s rank, while the I and M in the center are probably the initials of Jesus and Mary. The subtlety of the design is revealed in the undersides of the crowns which are painted on the inner wall of the basin giving them an illusion of three-dimensionality.

Deep Dish, Tin-glazed earthenware, Spanish

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