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Squat bottle with everted rim


Artwork Details

Squat bottle with everted rim
17th century
earthenware with glaze
4 7/16 in. x 4 3/4 in. x 4 3/4 in. ( 11.2 cm x 12 cm x 12 cm )
Museum Purchase

On Display

Not currently on display


Subject Matter:

The shape of this bottle is very distinctive. It seems to arise in the 17th century in Iran, decorated with lustre, underglaze painting and incised design. Esin Atil refers to the shape of this vessel as indigenous to the Persian world. Although the shape does not lead back to China, the piece does affirm the influence which the foreign wares had on Safavid ceramics: on the bottom there is a pseudo-Chinese mark which is now partially obscured, a common practice intended to guarantee quality in the Persian market. 

Physical Description:

The unglazed ewer consists of two parts: a bulbous body with narrow, well-defined foot ring and short columnar neck; and a spout joined in the form of an anmial's head. A handle extends from the base of the head to the shoulder of the body. Around the upper part of the body runs an Arabic verse in Naskhi script. The moulded relief inscription is set against a background of floral scrolls. The meter is Tawil: (translated) Behold, poverty hopes for wealth, while wealth fears poverty." The verse appears in the 'Iqd al-Farid, compiled by Ibn 'Abd Rabbihi, who attributes it to 'Ali. The column above the body narrows to form a shoulder, on which the head has been set. The head is a cone, the narrow end of which serves as the animal's nose and has a small hole for pouring out the contents of the ewer. Over the base of the cone jut two pointed ears. Two loops are fastened below them to the shoulder of the neck. Small discs, serving as eyes, have been applied in the front of the ears. The hole for insertion of the liquid is located behind the ears where the handle joins the base of the animal's head. 

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