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HOME : Islamic Art : AS Collection 4 : Kashan Lustre Vessel
Kashan Lustre Vessel - LR.021
Origin: Central Asia
Circa: 1200 AD to 1300 AD
Dimensions: 6.3" (16.0cm) high x 7" (17.8cm) wide
Collection: Islamic Art
Style: Kashan

Additional Information: AS

Location: Great Britain
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The year A.D. 622, when the Prophet Muhammad fled from Mecca to Medina marks the beginning of the Muslim era. Initially this religious and political development had a limited impact on the arts. Classical, Byzantine and Sassanian practices continued to flourish. Gradually however, and certainly by the start of the ninth century, a distinctive 'Islamic' style began to emerge. Although there were considerable regional variations across the Empire, certain unifying factors, such as the universal adoption of the Arabic script, lent Islamic art an unusual degree of coherency.

The Seljuk Turks built up a great Empire in the middle of the 11th century. This era has since been regarded as a Golden Age in Islamic art, particularly the period c. 1150-1250. The coming of the Seljuks brought about great changes in Persian pottery making. Kashan lustreware is considered superior in quality to all others.

Lustre, having been first used on glazed pottery in ninth century Iraq, became very popular in the tenth-twelfth centuries in Fatimid Egypt, and then reached new heights in Seljuk Iran in the 13th century, before the Mongol invasions. The centre of the Persian lustre industry was Kashan. In the twelfth century, Muslim potters developed a new and finer material than clay called "fritware" (also known as stonepaste). It consists of about ten parts crushed quartz, one part white clay and one part glass frit. Possibly created in an attempt to imitate Chinese porcelain, it produces a wonderfully white surface on which to apply glaze and lustre.

The lustre wares of Kashan are definitely superior to those produced in neighboring regions. It seems that the Mongol invasion in the mid- thirteenth century had little impact on the pottery industry in this area. The new conquerors clearly valued the prestige and beauty associated with such wares and production continued into the late fourteenth century. - (LR.021)


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