Published Catalogue Text: In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art , written 2013
Dish with peonies
Iran, Nishapur, Timurid period, c. 1475
Fritware painted with blue (cobalt) under clear alkali glaze
7.8 × 43 cm (3 1/16 × 16 15/16 in.)
Published: McWilliams 2004, 6, 11, fig. 8.
If the cobalt used to decorate Yuan and early Ming blue-and-white porcelains was initially imported from Iran, then Chinese potters more than repaid the favor in the form of exported decorative motifs. Avidly collected in Islamic lands, Chinese blue-and-white porcelain wares exerted enormous influence on Muslim potters of the fifteenth through the seventeenth century.
Produced in northeastern Iran in the second half of the fifteenth century, this impressive dish combines decorative solutions developed during the reign of two dynasties in China. Antecedents for the “wave and crest” motif along the rim and the “double scroll” on the outside wall can be found in Yuan (1271–1368) blue-and-white wares, while the fleshy peonies in the center derive from Ming (1368–1644) prototypes. The curiously restless and asymmetrical nature of the interior composition results from the zones of the circle being divided into odd and even units—three peonies in the center, eight floral sprays along the wall, and six wave-and-crest motifs on the rim.
Although the glaze has deteriorated somewhat, this dish is overall in fine condition. Put back together from a few large fragments, it has minimal losses.
 Golombek et al. 1996, 7.
 The attribution of this large dish to Nishapur, circa 1475, follows suggestions put forth in Golombek et al. 1996. It has not been sampled for petrographic analysis but belongs stylistically to the “Peony” subgroup of their “Double-scroll” group.
 The same proportions are used in a Nishapur “Peony” dish in the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg (VG.728), illustrated in Golombek et al. 1996, 197, pl. 38. In contrast, a similar bowl in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1972.8), which Calderwood would have known well, employs units of three throughout, as does a closely related dish in the Keir Collection (C45ii, now in the Museum für Islamische Kunst, Berlin), illustrated in Golombek et al. 1996, 196, pl. 37.