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Gallery Text

As central control weakened in the Abbasid Empire, regional dynasties arose to support, challenge, or redefine the authority of the caliph in Baghdad. The arts flourished in many centers, and wealthy merchant and professional classes emerged. A dramatic increase in productivity and innovation and an unprecedented expansion of figural decoration characterize the arts of this period.

A transforming event was the influx of Turkic and Mongol peoples from Central and Inner Asia. Most of the objects in this case were created in lands ruled by the most important of the Turkic dynasties, the Great Seljuks (1038–1157), and their immediate successors, the Atabegs. The Mongol invasions into Islamic lands began in the early 1200s and culminated in the 1258 sack of Baghdad. Eventually, the Mongols established their rule as the Yuan dynasty in China, the Chagatay Khanate in Central Asia, the Golden Horde Khanate in southern Russia, and the Ilkhanid dynasty (1256–1335) in greater Iran. The integration of a vast Eurasian territory into the Mongol Empire facilitated commerce and communication, bringing fresh Chinese inspiration into Islamic art.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
2002.50.58
Title
Flat-Rimmed Bowl with Bird in Foliage
Classification
Vessels
Work Type
vessel
Date
early 14th century
Places
Creation Place: Middle East, Iran
Period
Ilkhanid period
Culture
Persian
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/165477
Location
Level 2, Room 2550, Art from Islamic Lands, The Middle East and North Africa
View this object's location on our interactive map
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Fritware painted with white slip, blue (cobalt), and black (chromium) under clear alkali glaze
Technique
Underglazed, painted
Dimensions
10.6 x 20.7 cm (4 3/16 x 8 1/8 in.)
Provenance
[Mansour Gallery, London, 1973], sold; to Stanford and Norma Jean Calderwood, Belmont, MA (1973-2002), 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
2002.50.58
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Description
A large crane-like bird with bent neck and raised leg dominates the interior of this bowl. The dense foliage around the bird includes lotus blossoms, trademark motifs of Ilkhanid wares. Encircling the exterior beneath the rim is a band of vertical white stripes outlined in black; more widely spaced white stripes decorate the lower portion. The white slip decoration stands slightly in relief; the interior is enlivened with dots of cobalt blue, which have run. The clear, greenish-tinged glaze has pooled at the center of the bowl and has deteriorated on the exterior. Once assigned to Sultanabad, in western Iran, bowls with this shape and dense foliate decoration were common in the Ilkhanid period.

Published Catalogue Text: In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art , written 2013
41

Flat-rimmed bowl with bird in foliage
Iran, Ilkhanid period, early 14th century
Fritware painted with white slip, blue (cobalt), and black (chromium) under clear alkali glaze
10.6 × 20.7 cm (4 3/16 × 8 1/8 in.)
2002.50.58

Published: McWilliams 2003, 227, 230, fig. 5.

A large crane-like bird with bent neck and raised leg dominates the interior of this bowl. The dense foliage around the bird includes lotus blossoms, trademark motifs of Ilkhanid wares (see cat. 38). Encircling the exterior beneath the rim is a band of vertical white stripes outlined in black; more widely spaced white stripes decorate the lower portion. The white slip decoration stands slightly in relief; the interior is enlivened with dots of cobalt blue, which have run. The clear, greenish-tinged glaze has pooled at the center of the bowl and has deteriorated on the exterior. Once assigned to Sultanabad, in western Iran, bowls with this shape and dense foliate decoration were
common in the Ilkhanid period.[1]

Ayşin Yoltar-Yıldırım

[1] A similar bowl, with two birds, is illustrated in Watson 2004, 384, cat. Q.13

Publication History

Mary McWilliams, ed., In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art, exh. cat., Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2013), p. 196, cat. 41, ill.

Exhibition History

Closely Focused, Intensely Felt: Selections from the Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 08/07/2004 - 01/02/2005

Re-View: Arts of India & the Islamic Lands, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 04/26/2008 - 06/01/2013

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, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

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