Identification and Creation
Object Number
2002.50.99
Title
Zoomorphic Pitcher
Classification
Vessels
Work Type
vessel
Date
13th century
Places
Creation Place: Middle East, Iran
Period
Seljuk-Atabeg period
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/147778
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Molded fritware covered with turquoise (copper) alkali glaze opacified with tin
Technique
Mold-made
Dimensions
18.4 x 10.2 cm (7 1/4 x 4 in.)
Provenance
[Mansour Gallery, London, 1978], sold; to Stanford and Norma Jean Calderwood, Belmont, MA (1978-2002), gift; to Harvard Art Museums, 2002.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art
Accession Year
2002
Object Number
2002.50.99
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Description
This pitcher is molded in the shape of an ox; the animal wears a harness defined in low relief. Despite the thinness of the potting, the vessel is intact. The glaze has deteriorated in some areas, but the overall surface is in very good condition.

Published Catalogue Text: In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art , written 2013
24

Zoomorphic pitcher
Iran, Seljuk-Atabeg period, 13th century[1]
Molded fritware covered with turquoise (copper) alkali glaze opacified with tin
18.4 × 10.2 cm (7 1/4 × 4 in.)
2002.50.99

This pitcher is molded in the shape of an ox; the animal wears a harness defined in low relief. Despite the thinness of the potting, the vessel is intact. The glaze has deteriorated in some areas, but the overall surface is in very good condition.

Although its slender handle could have made it difficult to carry when full,[2] this pitcher may nevertheless have been used to serve wine, since bull-shaped vessels are known to have been employed for this purpose in medieval Iran.[3] Similar examples in different techniques can be found in public collections in North America and Europe; a near twin is in the Hetjens Museum in Düsseldorf.[4]

Ayşin Yoltar-Yıldırım

[1] The results of thermoluminescence analysis of this pitcher carried out by Oxford Authentication Ltd. in 2011 were inconclusive.
[2] Such vessels may have been made mostly for display purposes: see Watson 1985, 120.
[3] See, in this catalogue, Oya Pancaroğlu’s essay, “Feasts of Nishapur: Cultural Resonances of Tenth-Century Ceramic Production in Khurasan,” 25–35.
[4] Hetjens Museum 1973, 129.

Publication History

Mary McWilliams, ed., In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art, exh. cat., Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2013), p. 185, cat. 24, ill.

Exhibition History

In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/31/2013 - 06/01/2013

32Q: 2550 Islamic, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 04/19/2018 - 04/17/2019

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu