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Bowl with an Enthronement Scene

Arts of the Islamic World

Some of the earliest scenes of the princely cycle appear in Iranian ceramics of the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries before the Mongol invasion, when much of Iran, Central Asia, and Anatolia fell under Seljuq control. The Seljuqs were a Turkic dynasty and followers of the Sunni branch of Islam. Foreigners to Iran and its culture, their rulers sought legitimacy by naming themselves after the legendary Iranian kings lauded in the national epic, the Shahnama, and by patronizing art and architectural commissions that celebrated kingship and authority. Although few illustrated manuscripts remain from this period, a great number of surviving ceramic wares reveal aspects of courtly life under the Seljuqs, including the one on view. Such mina'i (enamel) or haft rangi (seven-color) wares comprised some of the earliest examples of polychrome ceramics and represent an expensive and labor-intensive process passed down from one generation of potters to the next. This bowl would have been painted in turquoise, blue, and purple on an opaque white glaze after a first firing; the enamel pigments including black and red, were then added, as well as leaf gilding, and the object would have gone through a second firing at a lower temperature to produce the final product. Kashan has been identified as the main city mina'i wares were made, although it was probably not the only production site for such pottery.

The scene on this bowl is particularly interesting as it currently the only known enthronement scene that includes children. This is suggested not only by the smaller size of the three figures to the right of the cypress tree, but by a female attendant, possibly the mother, who has one hand behind her child's shoulder while holding his hand with the other.

MEDIUM Ceramic, mina’i (enameled) or haft rangi (seven colors) ware; in-glaze painted in blue, turquoise, and purple on an opaque white glaze, overglaze painted in red and black, with leaf gilding
  • Place Made: Iran
  • DATES late 12th-early 13th century
    DYNASTY Seljuq
    PERIOD Saljuq Period
    DIMENSIONS 3 3/16 x 8 1/4 in. (8.1 x 21 cm)  (show scale)
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 86.227.61
    CREDIT LINE Gift of the Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc.
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Bowl with an Enthronement Scene, late 12th-early 13th century. Ceramic, mina’i (enameled) or haft rangi (seven colors) ware; in-glaze painted in blue, turquoise, and purple on an opaque white glaze, overglaze painted in red and black, with leaf gilding, 3 3/16 x 8 1/4 in. (8.1 x 21 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc., 86.227.61. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE interior, 86.227.61_interior_acetate_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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