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Lot 80c, Auction 8/2/2018: 12th C. Kashan Luster Glazed Bowl - Blue Underside

Central Iran, ca. late 12th / early 13th centuries CE. Of rounded form on short foot, the interior is painted with an overall foliate or star-like composition with a central eight-pointed star, in copper hued pigments that were most likely covered with glazes whose contents have become iridescent. The underside of the bowl is covered with striking cobalt blue overlaid with silver hued striations. Clear glaze, sometimes tinted with cobalt, was sometimes used for the exterior surfaces of bowls. Once the glaze was fired and decorated with the luster compound a second firing at a lower temperature with restricted airflow removed the oxygen from the metal oxide, fixing a layer of metal only a few molecules thick with a lustrous sheen upon the surface of the vessel or tile. The temperature and duration of the second firing had to be very precisely controlled, and, when taken alongside the volatility of metal oxides in the kiln, it oftentimes did not result in the most pristine finish. The technical knowledge required was quite complex. Size: 13-3/8"; in diameter x 2-3/4";.

Islamic proscription forbade the use of precious metals such as gold and silver for the making of vessels. This conversely opened up another market to the potter, as gold and silver lustered ceramic vessels did not fall under this ban. The range of color available with luster is from ruby red, to shades of brown, to chartreuse, and lemon. Luster was used on plates, bowls, ewers, and tile, and is a decorative technique that is purely of Middle Eastern origin, and not Chinese.

The town of Kashan, was a city associated with high-quality ceramic production in the medieval period. It appears to have been a major site for the manufacture of fine wares between the 1170s and 1220s as well as in the later 13th and early 14th centuries. Kashan lusterware is superior in quality to all others and often features dense patterns and every square inch of surface area is decorated.

Condition: Repairs to rim and body. Surface wear with abrasions and losses to glaze as shown.

Provenance: Ex-Sarkisian Gallery, Denver, CO.

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