The iconography of our huqqa base is extremely varied. It stretches from the quintessential Persian literary image of Khusraw catching a glimpse of Shirin bathing. A bottle of this same Kirman ware which sold at Spink in 1977, now in a private collection, depicts an equally expressive scene of a man out riding with a hawk. The figural scene on our huqqa base though is contrasted by an archaic or even primitivist representation of running antelope in delicate red slip. This interesting and rare design is paralleled on a further Kirman huqqa base in the Victoria and Albert Museum (inv.MES 611-1889 http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O223480/kalian/).
A huqqa base in the British Museum of identical form and similar vegetal decoration also displays a figure riding a horse (inv. G.307; R. L. Hobson, A Guide to the Islamic Pottery of the Near East, British Museum, 1932, p.73, fig.89). These form part of an extremely rare group of Kirman pottery vessels which display a remarkably wide range of decorative techniques. The exterior was first painted with an under glaze Chinese-inspired vegetal design with floral sprays and stylised cloud bands in blue. Further to this additional floral sprays were painted in red and green slip together with an almost unique primitivist representation of running deer. Finally a layer of polychrome black outlined polychrome decoration was added which depicts the detailed figures of Khusraw on his horse and Shirin bathing. With all of these varied and difficult decorative techniques involved in the production of a single vessel, it is highly likely that there was a high level of wastage. As a result the production of these very technically sophisticated vessels did not last for long.
For a discussion about the dating of these 17th Century Kirman wares please see lot 177.