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Dish Depicting a Coiled Dragon

Arts of the Islamic World

Shared motifs and designs in the art of diverse cultures along the Silk Route provide some of the most visible evidence of cultural transmission between China and the Islamic world. Through trade, tribute, gift exchange, and the spread of religions such as Buddhism, Manichaeism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, imagery associated with one artistic tradition was often adapted or incorporated in another cultural context.

A blue-and-white Iranian dish with Chinese cloud collar motifs illustrates how motifs evolved or were reinterpreted. The blue-and-white inspiration from China underwent several transformations in Iran as well as in the Ottoman Empire, where designs were combined with new colors and motifs to create the celebrated Iznik style of ceramics.

MEDIUM Ceramic; stone paste, painted in cobalt blue under a transparent colorless glaze
  • Place Made: Iran
  • DATES late 17th century
    DYNASTY Safavid
    PERIOD Safavid Period
    DIMENSIONS Diam. 16 5/16 in. (41.4 cm) Diam at foot: 8 11/16 in. (22.1 cm) H. 2 15/16 in. (7.4 cm)  (show scale)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CREDIT LINE Museum Collection Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Dish Depicting a Coiled Dragon, late 17th century. Ceramic; stone paste, painted in cobalt blue under a transparent colorless glaze, Diam. 16 5/16 in. (41.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Museum Collection Fund, 11.33. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE overall, 11.33_PS9.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2014
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Large plate with a low wide foot, a rounded marly and a narrow spreading rim. Cream white porcelaineous ware covered with a white slip and a transparent colorless glaze which stops on the foot and covers the base, and decorated on the cavetto with a circular medallion enclosing a curious version of a Chinese dragon, set open a field of an all-over pattern of floral and arabesque tracery and on the marly with repeat pendant trefoil medallions, which enclose lotus leaves and stylized lotus flowers and are connected with scalloped bands, from which hang lotus flowers and tassels, all in a pale blue under the glaze. The rim has a border of jasmine flower vines and the back is decorated with wavy vines of foliated arabesques and lotus flowers in underglaze blue. The base has an indistinct potter's mark in underglaze blue and the foot is chipped.
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