Arts of the Islamic World
The pilgrim flask form was widespread in both time and place and was produced in a variety of media, including Venetian glass, Central Asian leather,
and Chinese ceramics. Some have suggested that the round, moon-shaped
form originated in the Near East, but no matter what the origin, the various
examples bear witness to travel of both people and technologies throughout the diverse cultural landscape of the Silk Route.
This peacock-green pilgrim flask draws attention to the efforts of artists in
seventeenth-century Safavid Iran to interpret the fine Chinese celadon wares
widely exported under the Song (960–1279). Chinese products and designs
were greatly admired and sought in Iran, where popular tradition and literature
lauded the artistic talents of the Khitā’ī—natives of Cathay, a historical term
referring to northern China. The lotus bud motif on this bottle may be inspired
by Chinese images of the flower, but the molded composition of scrolling flowers and vines appears widely in Islamic vegetal decoration.
Ceramic; earthenware, molded and covered with a green glaze
early 17th century
8 11/16 x 6 11/16 x 4 1/8 in. (22 x 17 x 10.5 cm) (show scale)
This item is not on view
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Frederic B. Pratt
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Pilgrim Flask, early 17th century. Ceramic; earthenware, molded and covered with a green glaze, 8 11/16 x 6 11/16 x 4 1/8 in. (22 x 17 x 10.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Frederic B. Pratt, 36.942. Creative Commons-BY
front, 36.942_front_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
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