Confession time: I adore pottery. There is something about handmade ceramics that just thrills me. Perhaps it's the idea of something as ugly as raw clay becoming functional and beautiful. Second and third confessions: I adore pattern; and color; and antiques (oh wait, that was four.) Bring together all these
elements, and I'm in Utopia aka the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
I marveled at this selection of amazing Persian ceramic pieces, mostly dating from the 12th and 13th centuries. All these pieces are from Kashan, now Iran. This ewer required extreme skill. First a bottle was encased in an openwork pattern of hex tiles. Then the spout and handle were applied before the piece was painted and glazed. How does it hold water?
Kashan potters invented underglaze painting. The pigments they used in this bowl did not run when glaze was applied. The design and colors here would not be out of place in a contemporary home.
The turquoise glaze on this piece is au courant!
These pieces reflect a common motif found in Kashan enameled ceramics. The figures are often grouped in themes showing hunting or other activities.
Fast-forward to the 17th century — this dish from Northwest Iran shows garden foliage. The intensity of the colors and pattern in striking.
I hope you enjoyed this little bit of ceramic history. The MFA has so much more to see, please visit!