• Art of the Islamic and Indian  auction at Christies

    Sale 7751

    Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds

    6 October 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 34

    AN INTACT UNGLAZED POTTERY JAR

    PROBABLY EASTERN IRAN, 12TH/13TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    AN INTACT UNGLAZED POTTERY JAR
    PROBABLY EASTERN IRAN, 12TH/13TH CENTURY
    Of baluster form rising from a flat base to a wide mouth, the stamped and incised decoration divided in horizontal registers with floral and geometric motifs, with kufic inscriptions in almond-shaped medallions, roundels with passing lions and a number of grotesque faces applied to the surface, chip to the rim
    21 7/8in. (55.6cm.) high


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    Jars with a similar decoration applied and stamped were excavated in Ghubayra in south-eastern Iran and Malwand in Afghanistan. An unglazed jar of 37cm. high in the Kuwait National Museum displays a very close decorative scheme with panels with diagonal intersections over a dot-punched ground with small rosettes and almond-shaped elements applied around the shoulder and the neck (Oliver Watson, Ceramics from Islamic Lands, London, 2004, p. 107, cat. Ab.2).

    However, the faces applied to this jar are very singular. If it is possible to recognize the conventional 'moon face' common in 13th century Iran and Syria, the bearded and horned devil faces ornamenting the present jar are very unusual. The large jars found in Syria and Mesopotamia, some datable to the Zangid period (1170-1220), although slightly different in decoration and shape, have large figures and faces applied around the neck to which apotropaic properties were probably associated. It is not impossible that this was the case for this jar although the rich decoration remains its most striking feature.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Provenance

    UK collection since the 1970s, thence by descent