masterpieces of thirteenth-century Persian miniaturists


One Thousand and One Nights

One Thousand and One Nights (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The decoration of this fine Saljuk

pottery consists mostly of figure subjects, such as horsemen, seated and

standing figures of courtiers and princes, hunting scenes, and sphinxes. Three

of the outstanding bowls in the Schiff collection are decorated with the story

of BahramGur and his lute-player Azadah.


This popular theme

of Persian art is narrated in the epic poem the Shahnamab y

Firdausi. In two of our bowls two consecutive episodes of the story are repre-sented

simultaneously. BahramGur is shown transfixing with a single arrow the hind hoof and

ear of a deer, and the same scene includes the death of Azadah,

who, after making a mockery of BahramGur’s

skill, was thrown from the saddle and trampled to death.


These three bowls in

the Schiff collection are masterpieces of thirteenth-century Persian

miniaturists and are related to contemporary paintings in manu-scripts

of the Baghdad school. Through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. A. Wallace

Chauncey the Museum received as a gift fifteen Persian and Mesopotamian

ceramics and two Syrian enameled glass beakers, from the Henry G. Leberthon



There are three outstanding examples of twelfth-century lusterware

from Rakka with elaborate arabesque designs and decorative writing.

Another im-portant piece is a thirteenth-century albarello

with painted decoration in white and gold on a cobalt blue background.


The albarello

shape, which originated in the East, was adopted later by Italian potters.

Several examples of later Persian ware of the sixteenth and seventeenth

centuries belong to the so-called Kubatcha group, with

decoration consisting of plants and figures in monochrome or polychrome. This

ware, although found in Kubatcha in the Cau-casus,

should be regarded as Persian and was probably made in the region of Tabriz.








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