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Artist/maker unknown, Iranian or Persian

Made in Kashan, Esfahan, Iran, Asia

Great Mongols Period (1206-1634)

Early 13th century

Pottery with overglaze decoration, luster painted

Height: 12 inches (30.5 cm)

Curatorial Department:
East Asian Art

* Gallery 223, Asian Art, second floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Henry P. McIlhenny in memory of his parents, 1943

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Additional information:
  • PublicationPhiladelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections

    The hexagonal shape of this ceramic tabouret, which could be used as either a seat or a side table, is modeled on the garden pavilions found on the estates of Persian aristocrats. Between the columns on each of the six molded sides is a recessed niche from which a seated nobleman gazes out over a pond where ducks swim among lotus plants. Every part of the surface is decorated with scrolling vines and birds to enhance the rich effect of the setting, and a poetic inscription surrounds the scene of the lord accompanied by attendants on the top. This is the only known tabouret decorated in the luster technique, a time-consuming and expensive process that required two firings of its silver and copper pigments. The surface was then hand-polished to achieve a high gloss meant to rival bronze and gold. The fine quality of the painting and the evenly controlled glaze bespeak the great skill of the artist, and suggest that this tabouret was a one-time luxury commission for a wealthy Persian prince. Felice Fischer, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 64.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.

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