Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

The works in this case were produced during the reigns of two dynasties that forged empires in the Iranian region: the Timurids (1370–1506) and the Safavids (1501–1722). The Central Asian warlord Timur concentrated in his capital city of Samarkand artists gathered from a vast empire stretching from Syria to India. Timur’s descendants ruled over a greatly reduced realm—parts of Iran and Afghanistan—but gained renown as patrons of the arts. The Timurid system of organizing artists into workshops in which designs were developed for the book arts and for dissemination into other media was emulated by later dynasties, notably the Safavids and Ottomans. Arising in northwestern Iran, the Safavids united all of greater Iran under their rule and established Shiʿi Islam as the state religion, as distinct from the Sunni branch practiced in the surrounding states.

Cultural exchange and industrial competition increased in these centuries, both across and beyond Islamic lands. Responding to the courts’ avid consumption of Chinese blue-and-white wares, Persian potters appropriated Chinese shapes, compositions, and motifs in their own works. In contrast, the colorful dish with scale patterns probably reflects the highly successful products of the Ottoman kilns to the west, in Iznik.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Kubachi Plate with Figure and Plants
Work Type
17th century
Creation Place: Middle East, Iran
Safavid period
Persistent Link
Level 2, Room 2550, Art from Islamic Lands, The Middle East and North Africa
View this object's location on our interactive map
Physical Descriptions
Underglaze-painted fritware
6 x 35 cm (2 3/8 x 13 3/4 in.)
Annie Swan Coburn, Chicago, (by 1932), bequest; to Fogg Art Museum, 1934.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Bequest of Annie Swan Coburn
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.
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Art Museums" (thesis (certificate in conservation), Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, 2008), Unpublished, pp. 1-41 passim

Exhibition History

Woven, Hammered, and Thrown: Textiles and Objects from the Islamic World, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 06/22/1991 - 08/18/1991

Earthly Paradise: Gardens in Islamic Art, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 05/08/1993 - 08/22/1993

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

Re-View: Arts of India & the Islamic Lands, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 04/26/2008 - 06/01/2013

32Q: 2550 Islamic, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050

This record was created from historic documentation and may not have been reviewed by a curator; it may be inaccurate or incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at