Examples of peacocks depicted in blue and white pottery are found in the heavier variant of the "Kubachi" pottery style, usually set to one side of the composition (see one sold in these Rooms 20 October 1992, lot 147, or one with clearer drawing in the David Collection (von Folsach, Kjeld .: Art from the World of Islam, Copenhagen, 2001, no.236 or possibly 235, p.178). The motif derives from a Chinese prototype of which a number of approximately similar but no precise antecedents can be found (Krahl, Regina: Chinese Ceramics in the Topkapi Saray Museum, Istanbul, London, 1986, no.565, p.402 dating from the mid 14th century; op.cit., no.645, p.438, and also Pope, John A.: "Chinese Influences on Iznik Pottery: a re-examination of an old Problem", Islamic Art in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1972, pl.15d both dating from the mid or late 15th century). The piece illustrated by Pope is the closest to the present example in inspiration of the centre; it has the central bird flanked by two trailing curling flowering branches, although in that case they grow from the base rather than above. The cavetto here is derived from a comparable piece to the later Topkapi example, the combination of these two indicating that it is taken from a Chinese original of the second half of the fifteenth century.
The present piece is remarkable in its size and in the delicacy of the drawing. Technically it seems close to a small group of dishes which contain geometric motifs, two examples of which have been sold in these Rooms (18 October 1994, lot 327 and 14 October 1997, lot 398). They are typified by their very large size and by the filling of the various motifs with different types of dense hatching. In contrast to the other two, this dish also uses different densities of cobalt blue to give an extra level of texture to the design in certain areas.