Skip to main content

Star-shaped Tile with cheetah among foliage


Artwork Details

Star-shaped Tile with cheetah among foliage
mid 13th century - mid 14th century
molded fritware, blue and turquoise underglaze, overglaze copper lustre painting
8 1/16 in. x 8 3/16 in. x 5/8 in. ( 20.5 cm x 20.8 cm x 1.6 cm )
Museum Purchase

On Display

Not currently on display


Islamic Art from the University of Michigan Collections

p. 18, cat. #27
27. Star TIle
Iran, Kashan; late 13th century
Molded tile, opaque with glaze, blue painting into the glaze, lustre-painting over the glaze.
Max W. 20.5 cm. 
Museum of Art 1957/1.73
Freer Fund. Ex. collection E.F. Schmidt

About 1260, the ceramic workshps of Kashan resumed large-scale production of tiles and architectural revetments. In comparisob with the work of the first half of the century, the late 13th century tiles often seem carelessy executed and the designs bolder and simpler. In this tile the painter drew a spotted feline in a posture which suggests he is about to leap toward his prey. Perhaps this tile was used in conjunction with others depicting the customary prety of this animal, such as rabbits. The background contains a dense thicket of blossoming plants, and a similar treatment of the background and of the animal can be seen in other late 13th century tiles.

Comparative bibliography:
Bahrami, 1937, figs. 19, 22, and 49, 52.
Maslentitsyna, 1975, no. 29; ISLAMISCHE KERAMIK, 1973, no. 131, p. 106. 

Subject Matter:

The feline creature in the center, probably a leopard, is in posture suggesting he is about to leap toward prey. This decorated tile may have been used in conjunction with prey animals such as rabbits. The background has dense blossoms and a small pool under feet of feline. Similar to other late 13th century tiles, it was probably used to decorate Il-Khanid court architecture.

Physical Description:

This Il-Khanid period molded 8-pointed star tile contains a central spotted feline together with Arabic inscriptions on the outer rim. 

Usage Rights:

If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.