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Work Dish with deer and cranes

Department of Islamic Art: Political Recomposition and Birth of the Sultanates (1000–1250)

Plat aux daims et aux grues

© 2010 Musée du Louvre / Hughes Dubois

Islamic Art
Political Recomposition and Birth of the Sultanates (1000–1250)

Blue and white decorated dishes such as this one, produced in 17th-century Iran, were designed to imitate Chinese porcelain as closely as possible.

This kind of two-part figurative composition is rather unusual on pieces from the Safavid period; it was modeled on a type of dish produced during the Chinese Wanli era (1573–1618). In China, cranes and deer symbolized happiness and the return of spring.

The few pieces with a similar two-part decoration all combine motifs from 16th-century “kraak porselein” pieces made in China for export, and from 17th-century “Transitional” porcelain pieces. It therefore seems likely that Iranian potters were familiar with both these styles which they used as models.
The motif on the back was often associated with potters’ marks from the second half of the 17th century; it could be a mark of the workshops of Qumisha, near Isfahan.

Bibliography

Makariou S. (ed.), Maury C. (ed.), Three empires of Islam, Istanbul, Isfahan, Dehli, masterpieces of the Louvre collection, Exh. cat. Istanbul, Musée Sakip Sabanci, 2008, no. 108, p. 235.

Bernus-Taylor M. (ed.), Arabesques et jardins de paradis, Exh. cat. Paris, Musée du Louvre, no. 292, 1989.

Roux Jean-Paul (ed.), L’Islam dans les collections nationales, Exh. cat. Paris, Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, 1977, no. 619, p. 260–261. 

L’Orient des Provençaux, Orient réel et mythique, Exh. cat. Marseille, Musée Borély, 1982–1983, no. 71, p. 52.

Technical description

  • Dish with deer and cranes

    c.1550-1570

    Iran, Ispahan, Qumisha (?)

  • Stonepaste, underglaze painted decoration

    Diam. max. 47.1 cm; H. max. 7.9 cm

  • Gift of Jules Maciet , 1887

    AD 3516

  • Islamic Art

    Denon wing

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