Persian Ceramics: 9th - 14th Century

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Author: Giovanni Curatola

Hardcover: 184 pages
Publisher: Skira (February 6, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 9788876247507
ISBN-13: 978-8876247507
ASIN: 8876247505

Product Description

In the complex and varied world of Islamic art ceramics play an important role. Medieval Persian ceramics, in particular, were extraordinary for their technical invention and imaginative, refined iconography achieving artistic results that would be difficult to surpass in the art of pottery. Compared with early Islamic art, works of art from medieval times make much greater use of figural decoration and forms. Alongside celebrated examples from some of the world's most prestigious museum collections, this volume includes a series of hitherto unseen works. The impressive and technically sophisticated pieces include plates, bowls, ewers, jugs, jars, beakers, and spouted and shaped vessels. The book provides an exhaustive panorama of Persian ceramics, striking a perfect balance between technical, stylistic, and aesthetic analysis, which brings the reader closer to this art of exceptional quality and beauty.

"Ceramics play a leading role in the complex and variegated world of Islamic art. Medieval Persian wares in particular are outstanding for their technical innovation and the creative power and refinement of their iconography: indeed, they have few equals in this field. Together with famous pieces kept in prestigious museums, this catalog also presents a series of heretofore unpublished works. Readers are provided with an exhaustive panorama of Persian ceramics with a finely balanced analysis of the works from a technical, stylistic and aesthetic standpoint - a perfect introduction and approach to an art of exceptional quality and beauty."--BOOK JACKET.


"The taste and talent of this people can be seen through the designs of their earthen wares", R. Ghirshman

The history of the art of pottery in Iran goes back into ancient time. When agriculture came into existence and cultivation started on Iran's plateau by primitive races of this land, people made utensils of baked clay in order to meet their needs.

Iranian pottery (sometimes known as gombroon) production presents a continuous history from the beginning of Iranian history until the present day.

Fingerprints of primitives in Iran can be seen on relics. The first earthenware was mainly of two types: black utensils and red ones, both were hardly complicated products.

Gradually simple earthenware was decorated with by geometric designs. Studying the designs shows us that ancient Iranians were skillful also in designing earthenware and represented their works in a lively and gracious manner. Iran can be called the birthplace of designed earthenware utensils. Designing earthenware in Iran started about 4,000 BC.

Earthenware of those times had been baked more carefully in newly-made kilns. Shapes and forms of these potteries indicate invention of the pottery rotating instrument may be of that time.

Artists produced a variety of utensils like piped pots, bowls and jars to store corn and grain. Among excavated potteries belonging to those eras, some primitive earthen statues in the form of animals and birds have also been found which presumably had ornamental value more than anything else.

In Iran pottery manufacture has a long and brilliant history. Due to the special geographical position of the country, being at the crossroads of ancient civilizations and on important caravan routes, almost every part of Iran was, at times, involved in pottery making. Yet, recent excavations and archaeological research revealed that there were four major pottery-manufacturing areas in the Iranian plateau. These included the western part of the country, namely the area west of the Zagros mountains (Lurestan), and the area south of the Caspian Sea (Gilan and Mazandaran provinces). These two areas are chronologically as far as is known today, the earliest. The third region is located in the northwestern part of the country, in Azarbaijan province. The fourth area is in the southeast, i.e. the Kerman region and Baluchestan. To these four regions one may also add the Kavir area, where the history of pottery making can be dated back to the 8th millennium BCE.

About the Author

Giovanni Curatola is professor of archaeology and history of Islamic art at the University of Udine. He also teaches at the Catholic University in Milan and the Kore University in Enna. He is an extensive traveler and expert on the Near and Middle East. He has held conferences and seminars in London, New York, Saint Petersburg, and other parts of the world.

*Link for Further Reading: Art of Pottery in Iran: