Identification and Creation
Object Number
2002.50.67
Title
Spouted Ewer with Curving Handle
Classification
Vessels
Work Type
vessel
Date
Late 17th century
Places
Creation Place: Middle East, Iran, Kirman
Period
Safavid period
Culture
Persian
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/165530
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Fritware painted with blue (cobalt) under clear alkali glaze
Technique
Underglazed, painted
Dimensions
25.3 x 16 cm (9 15/16 x 6 5/16 in.)
Provenance
[Mansour Gallery, London, 1974], sold; to Stanford and Norma Jean Calderwood, Belmont, MA (1974-2002), gift; to Harvard Art Museums, 2002.


Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art
Accession Year
2002
Object Number
2002.50.67
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Description
Breezily rendered Chinese decorative motifs in two shades of cobalt blue decorate the surface of this ewer. A border composed of cloudlike ruyi motifs separates chrysanthemum scrolls painted freely around the pear-shaped belly and rendered in reserve on the shoulder. Crisscrossing lines—possibly vestigial plantain leaves—pattern the tapering neck. Hash marks resembling the Chinese character shou (longevity) are evenly spaced along the spout. Except for the loss of the tip of the spout (now restored), the vessel is in fine, unbroken condition, retaining a glossy surface. Although varying in proportion, the general form of this ewer, with its pear-shaped body, tapering spout, curving handle, neck ringed by torus molding, and flaring mouth, was rendered in metal or ceramic in Iran, India, and Turkey from the sixteenth through the nineteenth century. The particular variant seen here, in which the curving handle joins a cup-shaped mouth above a prominent knob, appears to have been popular in late Safavid ceramics; ewers with these features have survived in a range of decorative techniques including monochrome relief, luster, and underglaze painting. The imitation shou mark appears as decorative fill on a handful of late Safavid blue-and-white wares attributed to the reign (1666–94) of the Safavid ruler Shah Sulayman.

Published Catalogue Text: In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art , written 2013
45

Spouted ewer with curving handle
Iran, Kirman, Safavid period, late 17th century
Fritware painted with blue (cobalt) under clear alkali glaze
Body: 25.3 × 16 cm (9 15/16 × 6 5/16 in.)
Handle to spout: 18.5 cm (7 1/4 in.)
2002.50.67

Published: McWilliams 2004, 11.

Breezily rendered Chinese decorative motifs in two shades of cobalt blue decorate the surface of this ewer. A border composed of cloudlike ruyi motifs separates chrysanthemum scrolls painted freely around the pear-shaped belly and rendered in reserve on the shoulder. Crisscrossing lines—possibly vestigial plantain leaves—pattern the tapering neck. Hash marks resembling the Chinese character shou (longevity) are evenly spaced along the spout. Except for the loss of the tip of the spout (now restored), the vessel is in fine, unbroken condition, retaining a glossy surface.

Although varying in proportion, the general form of this ewer, with its pear-shaped body, tapering spout, curving handle, neck ringed by torus molding, and flaring mouth, was rendered in metal or ceramic in Iran, India, and Turkey from the sixteenth through the nineteenth century.[1] The particular variant seen here, in which the curving handle joins a cup-shaped mouth above a prominent knob, appears to have been popular in late Safavid ceramics; ewers with these features have survived in a range of decorative techniques including monochrome relief, luster, and underglaze painting.[2] The imitation shou mark appears as decorative fill on a handful of late Safavid blue-and-white wares attributed to the reign (1666–94) of the Safavid ruler Shah Sulayman.[3]

Mary McWilliams

[1] Jean Soustiel dates a ewer of similar shape with blue-and-white floral and imbricate patterning to the second half of the fifteenth century: see Soustiel 1985, 215, fig. 238. It was more likely made a century later.
[2] See, for example, ewers in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (EAX3035); the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (17.120.27); and the British Museum, London (G.351.a).
[3] Now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London: see Crowe 2002, 176, 186, 219. These are two brown-rimmed bowls of medium size painted in different shades of blue (1256-1876 and 1202-1876) and a ewer painted in blue and black (2644-1876).

Publication History

Jessica Chloros, "An Investigation of Cobalt Pigment on Islamic Ceramics at the Harvard Art Museums" (thesis (certificate in conservation), Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, 2008), Unpublished, pp. 1-41 passim

Mary McWilliams, ed., In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art, exh. cat., Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2013), pp.53-55, ill.; pp. 199-200, cat. 45, ill.

Exhibition History

Closely Focused, Intensely Felt: Selections from the Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 08/07/2004 - 01/02/2005

Overlapping Realms: Arts of the Islamic World and India, 900-1900, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 12/02/2006 - 03/23/2008

In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/31/2013 - 06/01/2013

Davis Museum Permanent Gallery reinstallation, Davis Museum at Wellesley College, Wellesley, 09/07/2016 - 12/16/2022

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu