Historical period(s)
late 12th century
Stone-paste painted with luster over blue (cobalt-tinted) glaze
H x W x D: 7.8 x 17.3 x 17.3 cm (3 1/16 x 6 13/16 x 6 13/16 in)
Iran, Probably Kashan
Credit Line
Gift of Osborne and Gratia Hauge
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Ceramic, Vessel


Hauge collection, Iran, Lustre ware, mythological animal, WWII-era provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable

Preoccupation with surface decoration reached new levels of technical sophistication with the use of metal-based "luster" pigments—a combination of copper and silver—in twelfth-century Iran. The pigment was applied to the cold body of an already glazed tile or vessel, which was refired in a specially constructed kiln that allowed the metallic oxides to adhere to the vessel. The result was a shimmering lustrous surface rivaling those of gold and silver metal objects. This small bowl, adorned with a human-headed bird, one of the most frequently depicted mythical creatures in medieval Persian art, is characteristic of this exacting technique.

Published References
  • Louise Allison Cort, Massumeh Farhad, Ann C. Gunter. Asian Traditions in Clay: The Hauge Gifts. Washington, 2000. cat. 40, pp. 66, 88.
  • Thomas Lawton, Thomas W. Lentz. Beyond the Legacy: Anniversary Acquisitions for the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. vol. 1 Washington, 1998. pp. 134-137, fig. 3.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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