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Work Dish

Department of Islamic Art: The caliphate period (8th-11th centuries)

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© 2010 Musée du Louvre / Hughes Dubois

Islamic Art
The caliphate period (8th-11th centuries)

This beautiful dish with its attractive graphic decoration was made in the city of Kerman, a major ceramic production center during the Safavid period, located in the Kerman province in the south-east of Iran.

The simple yet striking decoration consists of a large rosette in the center of the dish; this rosette is composed of six central palmettes (eslimi) surrounded by six smaller palmettes of the same shape, connected by slender floral scrolls. These stylized split palmettes are a regular feature of Persian manuscripts—especially in illuminations—from the 15th century onward, though their origin remains obscure

The white decoration stands out against the uniform blue ground of the dish. A special technique called “champlevé” was used to achieve this contrasting effect: the dish was coated with a thick layer of smooth slip, which was then scraped away to allow the pure white of the paste to show through, creating the desired pattern. The dish was coated with a transparent glaze which added an effect of depth to the decoration and smoothed the surface.

Bibliography

Makariou S. (dir.), Maury C. (dir.), Three empires of Islam, Istanbul, Isfahan, Dehli, masterpieces of the Louvre collection, Cat. exp. Istanbul, Musée Sakip Sabanci, 2008, n° 111, p. 238.

Technical description

  • Dish

    c. 1650

    Iran, Kerman (?)

  • Stonepaste, champlevé decoration on cobalt blue slip, under clear glaze

    H. 7.5 cm; Diam. 42 cm

  • Gift of R. Koechlin

  • Islamic Art

    Denon wing

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