Large Jar with rope decoration



Period Iran, 9th - 11th century
Materials and techniques Islamic blue glaze
Size H.143.0 MD.43.5 D.82.2 BD.25.8


Persia, or present day Iran, produced a great volume of ceramics decorated with polychrome paintings and glazes, but they are also famous for their elegant monochrome-glazed ware such as the one shown here. Their beautiful glazes, especially those with intense hues of blue or turquoise, later came to typify Persian wares. Numerous jars of this type are known today including the example in the Louvre, but his jar, measuring 143cm in height, is one of the largest in the world. The walls, built up in layers, are quite thick (4 to 5 cm), and the jar is extremely heavy. It must have been fired upside down, as the glaze can be seen running toward the mouth. Both the blue glaze and the paste comprised of white clay and other substances are alkaline, so the porcelain is very fragile. Depending on the alkalinity and the thickness of the glaze, the blue has turned to different shades, and in part to a silver color. The tall, thick neck of the jar has a wave pattern incised with spatula, while the gradually expanding shoulder remains bare of decoration. From the mid-body down, the traditional rope design has been applied in a very unique manner with linked beads arranged in between.