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EGYPTIAN AND TURKISH SYRIAN PERSIAN

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Originally appearing in Volume V05, Page 731 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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EGYPTIAN AND TURKISH SYRIAN PERSIAN POTTERY' Formerly, in all general accounts of the potter's art, it was the custom to pass over the period between the fall of the Roman empire and the appearance of the beautiful Persian and Syrian pottery of the early middle ages, as if the intervening centuries had produced nothing worthy of note. Even yet the successive steps by which this beautiful art arose are largely matters of inference and deduction, but it must be borne in mind that while the Greeks and Romans made singularly little use of glaze and painted colour, the Egyptians and the inhabitants of Syria and Mesopotamia had long been noted for their skill in this direction. In discussing the pottery of these peoples we have already Minted out at what a very early period they had developed the production of rich and beautiful coloured glazes—the Egyptians i See examples in colour on Plate V. as a jewel-like decoration of small pieces made in a very sandy paste, or actually carved from stone, and the Assyrians, on a bolder scale, in their glazed and coloured brickwork. Though the Egyptian and Syrian empires were overthrown, the peoples of these countries remained; and, as we are now aware, carried on their traditional craft, though in a less splendid way. There is abundant evidence that pottery was made in the Egypt of Roman times and later with rich turquoise blue and yellow glazes, though the potters had learned to produce this glaze on a material containing more clay and less sand than that used in earlier days. We know also that they had learned that the addition of lead oxide to a glaze enabled such glaze to be applied on vessels formed from clay which was sufficiently plastic to be shaped on the wheel. This knowledge was not confined to Egypt, but appears to have been spread over Syria and parts of Asia Minor; and throughout the Byzantine empire many forms of pottery were made which were clearly the starting-points of much of the fine pottery produced in Europe in later times. We find, for instance, side by side, a manufacture of bowls, dishes and vases of very simple shape, yet made of two distinct materials: (1) a whitish sandy body on which turquoise blue, green or even white glaze, consisting mainly of silicates of soda and lime, was used either without ornament or with simple painted patterns in black or cobalt blue under the glaze; (2) similar vessels made of a lightish red clay, also rather sandy and porous, coated with a white slip (pipeclay or impure kaolin) covered with a yellowish lead glaze. These vessels were decorated in a variety of ways: (i) Graffiati; patterns cut or scratched through the coating of white slip while it was still soft, down to the red ground, so that when the vessel was glazed it displayed a pattern in dark upon a light ground. (2) Yellow and red ochre and copper scales were rudely " dabbed " over the white slip surface, so that when the vessel was glazed it presented a marbled or mottled appearance with touches of red, yellow, brown or green, on a yellowish-white ground. (See the section on Egyptian pottery above.) (3) Oxides of copper or iron were added to the lead glaze, and the resulting green or yellow glazes were applied to plain vases or to vessels decorated with moulded reliefs. In all these methods we see the continuation of old tradition in simpler forms, but we shall also see that these, in their turn, became the starting-point of much of the medieval pottery of Europe, particularly of Italy and the other southern countries. In the same way, a little farther east, the Persians of Sassanian times seem to have preserved some of the traditions of the potters of Assyria, just as they inherited their skill; and the Assyrian device of raising strong brown outlines round a design to control the flow of coloured glazes, which is exemplified in the Frieze of Archers in the Louvre, was carried on by them, for it appears unchanged in the tiles of the Mosque of Mahommed I. built at Brusa in the 15th century. The intercourse between the Persian and Byzantine empires at this time must have led to a general diffusion of technical knowledge among the pottery centres of the various countries round the eastern end of the Mediterranean, though our knowledge is too fragmentary to furnish sufficient data for any definite placing of the progress made. Our information is mainly derived from the examination of the rubbish mounds at Fostat, or Old Cairo, in Egypt, by Dr Fouquet, and by eager inquirers like Henry Wallis. Fostat was built in A.D. 640 by Amr and destroyed in the 12th century; partially rebuilt, it was given over to pillage in 1252 by a Mameluke sultan, and all that remains is the Old Cairo of to-day, the rest of the site being covered with accumulated rubbish heaps. In the same way Rhagae or Rai, one of the ancient capitals of Persia, the site of which lies & few miles east of Teheran, was destroyed about 1220 by Jenghiz Khan. Like Fostat it was partially rebuilt, but was destroyed again in the following century, so that its existence practically ceased in the 14th century. Rhagae was once an important centre of the ceramic industry, but this was transferred to the neighbouring town of Veramin, in the 13th century. Excavations have also been made on the site of Rakka, near Aleppo, in Syria, and from all these sources, and a few others i PERSIAN] minor importance, much interesting light has been thrown on the development of the potter's art in these countries during the period between the 4th and 12th centuries. Yet, until systematic excavations have been made in Persia, Anatolia, Syria and the Delta, on the same scale as those which have proved so valuable in Greece, Crete, Cyprus and the valley of the Nile, we cannot hope to possess sound chronological data of the developments of the arts in these countries. Meantime the exact share which should be allotted to each district for its discoveries will remain ground of contention for scholars of conflicting schools, though there can be little doubt that Egypt and the southern part of Syria played a more important part than has generally been supposed in the development of the potter's art at this period. Persian Pottery.—The most important pottery of the nearer East, whether considered on its own merits or from the influence it has exercised on the pottery of later times, is that so highly valued by collectors under the distinctive name of Persian; though much that passes under that name may not have been made in Persia. From the loth to the 16th centuries the crafts-men of Persia were perfect masters of decorative design and colour; and, as potters, they possessed a sense of the forms proper to clay, such as none of the great races of antiquity ever exhibited. The shapes of Greek pottery speak more strongly of metal than of clay, but the best Persian work exhibits a feeling for the material that has rarely been equalled. The shapes are not only true clay-shapes but they are designed so as best to exhibit the qualities of the glaze and colour with which they were to be decorated. Certainly from the 12th to the 16th centuries the pottery of the Persians must rank among the greatest achievements of the potter's art. The ware was shaped from various mixtures such as we have already spoken of—but whether its body was a mixture of white clay with a large pro-portion of sand, or some inferior clay that burnt to a yellowish or red tint, and was surfaced with a fine white coating of siliceous slip, or with a mixture of soda-glass, clay and oxide of tin, which made it whiter still—the one aim was to produce a white pottery. On this white ground—with a coarsish absorbent surface—beautiful patterns, in conventional floral or animal forms, were deftly painted in cobalt-blues, manganese-purples, copper-greens and turquoise, with mixtures for intermediate tints; while a strong brownish-black outline colour was compounded by mixing the oxides of iron and manganese, to be turned into a fine, still black by the addition of a trace of cobalt and later of oxide of chromium. Over this freely painted colour, often used in broad flat masses, a singularly limpid alkaline glaze, generally of considerable thickness, was fired until it just fused; and the resultant effect is of the most rich and brilliant colour relieved on a ground of slightly toned white. Judging from fragments which have been found at Rai, and which can scarcely therefore be later than the 13th century, we find the characteristic Persian style of ornament already developed; dumpy little figures kneeling, standing or riding on grass between cypress trees, or animals and birds similarly disposed, with conventional borders and bands of Cufic inscriptions. Another well-known type of pattern consists of highly conventionalized floral ornament which often runs to a beautiful tracery of " arabesque " lines. The drawing is generally finely outlined with brown or black (a survival of the ancient Assyrian practice), and in the earliest pieces the flat washes of colour are laid in only in cobalt-blue, turquoise or green from copper, and shades of purple and brown from manganese. From the 16th century onwards Chinese influence is strongly felt both in the designs and in the colour schemes, particularly in the wares painted with patterns in blue only (fig. 39), which sometimes carry the imitation of Chinese porcelain so far as to bear forged Chinese marks. Finally, Shah Abbas I. (1587-1629) is said to have brought a number of Chinese artificers, among them many potters, to Ispahan, and we find that Chinese porcelain was largely painted at Kingte-Chen, with blue decorations in the Persian taste, so that we cannot be surprised at the growth of a hybrid Perso-Chinese style of decoration. From this period, however, Persian pottery deteriorated both in its technical and artistic aspects. Crudely727 moulded figures in fairly high relief, coloured with an opaque yellow and green as well as with transparent blue and turquoise, began to make their appearance, especially on the famous Persian tiles; and in the 18th century the brown and black outlines of the drawing (a most valuable decorative resource) vanish, and we get brighter and more glittering, yet poorer colours, including a rose-red enamel fired over the glaze, evidently imitated from the Chinese famille-rose porcelains of the 18th century. The finest work appears to have been produced from the 1th to the 14th centuries; yet so imperfect is our knowledge of what is truly Persian, Syrian or Egyptian, that we are forced to accept many conventional names that have perhaps little but custom to recommend them. There is, for instance, an important class of pottery known, until recently, only from a few remark-ably handsome vases, and once called " Siculo-Arab " because these few examples had been mostly found in Sicily. This ware is characterized by its fine quality and its distinguished ornament —leaf-shaped panels with arabesques; interlacing patterns; striped and dotted bands ; friezes of animals or birds amidst Albert Museum.) flowers and foliage, inscriptions, &c.; all strongly and firmly drawn in black or brown outlines and washed in with a very pure cobalt-blue or with turquoise. In spite of the resemblance of these pieces to the oldest Persian wares, we know that bowls, dishes, vases and spoilt pieces of the same kind have been dug up on the site of Rakka near Aleppo; similar ware has been found at Fostat, together with evidences of local manufacture, and occasional pieces have been brought from Persia; so that probably this distinguished ware was made at Rakka in Syria between the 9th and the 13th centuries, and was afterwards made by Syrian potters both in Persia and Egypt. Other Persian Wares.—We have already spoken of the prevalent use of coloured glazes in all the countries of the nearer East—from Egypt to Persia—from remote times, either as the sole colour decoration or in conjunction with modeIIed or painted ornament. The fragments from Rai and Fostat include rich turquoise glazes (derived from the ancient Egyptian), deep and light-green glazes containing lead and copper, imitations of ancient Chinese celadon-green, a brownish-purple glaze, a coffee-brown glaze and a deep cobalt-blue glaze.' All these may be ' A peculiarity of the Persian and allied blue glazes, of many shades, is that they appear to have been produced not by dissolving the colouring matter in the glaze, but by coating the white ground of the ware with a thin wash of some cobaltiferous substance—probably an earth containing varying proportions of cobalt, manganese and iron—and then melting a thick alkaline glaze over it. found either on plain vases, or on vessels with modelled ornament; or covering delicate floral or arabesque patterns painted in white slip or incised in the paste. Sometimes, even at this early period, there are traces of applied gold-leaf attached, but not fired, to the glaze. At a Very early period, too, we find those beautiful bowls, dishes and vases decorated with geometrical or arabesque patterns in a singularly still underglaze black, and covered with the blue turquoise or green copper glazes. This characteristic and beautiful ware is common to Persia, Syria and Egypt in Saracen times, and it was soon prized in Europe, as is shown by the famous fragment found by the late Mr Drury Fortnum built into the outer walls of S. Cecilia in Pisa, where it was apparently placed in the 12th century.' At a later date a shining black glaze made its appearance, and in the 13th century pale and lapis-lazuli blues, while there is a comparatively modern sage-green glaze found only on pieces bearing patterns modelled in low relief. Persian Porcelain.—This beautiful and somewhat mysterious ware—often called " Gombroon " ware—apparently made its appearance in the 13th century, though the bulk of the known examples are not earlier than the 17th or 18th century. The ware is quite translucent and is of soft and delicate texture. Unlike Chinese porcelain, it was made from a mixture of pipe-clay and glass, and was glazed with a soft lead glaze; so that a fragment of it would melt to an opaque glass in an ordinary porcelain oven. It is principally met with in the form of dishes, bowls (often mounted on feet) and saucers. The 'pieces are generally very thin and are either perfectly plain or bear flutings or simple wavy patterns incised in the paste. Most characteristic and beautiful is the decoration by means of delicate perforations either straight or lozenge-shaped. In the finest pieces the perforations are filled with glaze, and then they form a decoration analogous to the well-known " rice-grain " decoration of the Chinese. Occasional pieces are found decorated with colour, either a delicate green, producing an effect like pale bright celadon, or the well-known Persian blue ground; and this is sometimes decorated with lustre patterns. Nowhere can this rare and delicately beautiful ware be so well studied as in the Victoria and Albert Museum. Lustred Ware.-The decoration of pottery with iridescent metallic films is one of the most astonishing and beautiful inventions ever made by the potter. Hitherto we have seen only coloured clays, coloured glazes, or colours fired under the glaze, but we are now brought face to face with a colour effect produced by refiring the finished glazed pieces, at a lower temperature, with pigments painted upon the glaze (fig. 40; see also Plate V. 13th-century Persian lustre). How such a practice originated is probably an idle speculation, but it may have come through repeated attempts to decorate pottery with gold. If gold was painted under the glazes of these ancient vases, it would probably vanish and leave no trace; but gold, alloyed with much silver, applied over the finished glaze and refired, in the attempt to make it adhere, may have given the first films of iridescent colour. We know certainly that before the 13th century the elements, of the process had been mastered, and that the potters of the nearer East had learnt that by mixing some compound of silver (doubt-less the sulphide) with clay, and painting the mixture on the finished vase, which was refired in such a way that the pieces were only raised to a dull red heat and were then exposed to the vapours of the wood-fuel, glowing lustrous patterns were left on the ware that looked like metal—but metal shot over with all the hues of the rainbow, golden, rosy, purple and green. Numerous fragments of this lustred pottery had been disinterred from the site at Rhagae, and it was therefore assumed that the beautiful process was of Persian origin, particularly as most of the examples then known bore designs of distinctly Persian style. We are now inclined to think that the process really arose in Egypt or in Syria, and was carried eastward to Persia, just as it was afterwards carried westward to Spain. In support of this view there is the written record of the Persian traveller Nasiri ' See Drury Fortnum, Archaeologia, vol. xlii. Khosrau, who visited Old Cairo in the 1 nth century (1035-1042). He was apparently familiar with the pottery of his own country, and notes all the novel forms that he found in the bazaars of Old Cairo, which was both a great trading emporium for the traffic of East and West, and a pottery centre of note. He mentions, specially, certain translucent bowls of earthenware decorated with colours resembling a stuff called " bougalemoun," " the tints changing according to the position which one gives to the vase." Such a description could only apply to " lustred " pottery, and it would seem as if this process must have been known in Egypt or Syria before it was practised in Persia (see Plate V., 13th-century Syro-Persian). In any case the secret was soon carried to Persia, for we have ample evidence that it was practised at Rhagae in the next century. The earliest dated example of Persian lustred ware is a star-shaped tile of the year A.D. 1217 (A.u. 614), decorated with spotted hares, heraldically confronted, in a ground of lustre relieved by dots and curls, and surrounded by an inscribed border. A vase in the Godman collection bears the date A.D. 1231 (A.H. 629), and some of the well-known " star and cross " tiles from Veramin belong to the year A.D. 1262. The early Persian lustre is chiefly known to us through the tiles with which the walls of mosques and public buildings were decorated; the more ephemeral vases, bowls and dishes have survived in smaller numbers and very rarely in perfect condition. Common motives of decoration were animals and birds (sometimes showing Chinese influence), the hare and the deer being favourites; roughly drawn sack-like figures of men and women, mounted or on foot (probably heroes of Persian legend), conventional foliage and arabesques. The designs are usually reserved in a lustred ground, which is relieved by small scrolls, curls and dots etched in the lustre (as though the glazed piece had been covered all over with the lustre mixture and the ornament scratched out , of this when it was dry), and showing beneath the ivory-white tin-enamel with which the early wares are generally coated. The lustre itself when viewed directly may look like some golden or deep chocolate-brown colour, but as the piece is turned to catch a side-light this deep colour is seen to bear a thin iridescent film, which glows with golden, green, purple or ruby-red metallic reflets. On the earliest examples the decoration is often entirely in lustre, but later, lustre is often used to eke out a pattern painted with masses of pale cobalt-blue or turquoise under the glaze. Similar tiles with rather more elaborate ornament bear 14th-century dates, and another variety has parts of the decoration, more particularly the large letters of the inscriptions, raised in low relief and heightened with blue. Yet another class, belonging to the 14th century, has a fine dark-blue alkaline glaze, with designs in low relief, picked out with scrolls and arabesques in white enamel or bold floral sprays in leaf-gold. Lustre is frequently found applied to the rich cobalt-blue ground, and there are still existing a few magnificent vases which show the artistic possibilities of this scheme of decoration. It should be noted that when the pieces are in the round, the pattern is usually painted in lustre and not reserved in a lustre ground as on the flat tiles. In the later examples the tin-enamel was replaced entirely by white slip, and the lustre decoration continued in use until the end of the reign of Shah Abbas I. (1587-1629). To the last period belong many charming bowls, narghilis, cups and dishes in a brown lustre, with ruby reflets, on a white or a deep blue ground; this ware is pure white in sub-stance and generally translucent, and the pieces are occasionally signed (see Persian porcelain above). Damascus Ware.—This time-honoured name (for "Damas Ware " was often mentioned in medieval inventories, and appears to have included many varieties of oriental pottery which were highly prized in Italy, France and England in the middle ages)' forms rather a puzzle nowadays for the archaeologist, for many diverse wares have been included under this title, some of which were not made at Damascus. Yet Damascus is one of the oldest cities in the world, and has seen unnumbered dynasties come and go around its desert-fringed oasis. An important centre of caravan traffic, a nexus of palpitating life from east and west, north and south, we cannot wonder if it developed a special pottery of its own, tinged with something of a cosmopolitan spirit. Formerly the Damascus wares were treated as a variety of the Persian pottery we have just de-scribed, but the best examples of the class now known under this name exhibit a mingling of various influences such as we might expect, and have well-marked affinities both with the Persian wares and those brilliant productions now commonly recognized as Syrian and Turkish, while even far-off echoes of Chinese decorative mannerisms are not wanting. The characteristic Damascus ware of the collector is marked by its quality; the ground is of very clear white, the colours are pure and brilliant, and the vessels, whether dishes or vases, are soundly made. The decoration, which is purely floral or conventional, recalls the more formal Persian style, but the colours recall those of the Turkish pottery with one remarkable substitution. The piled-up red-clay pigment of the latter is absent, but where it would inevitably occur in the design of a Turkish piece its place is taken by a purple made from manganese, which is often thin and rather washy in quality. Fine examples of this famous ware are to be seen in the British Museum and in the Louvre; its characteristic style of pattern is well shown in the 16th-century Damascus piece reproduced in Plate V. Another splendid example is the lamp from the Mosque of Omar at Jerusalem, also in the British Museum (fig. 41); and this has generally been classed with the Damascus wares, though its colouring and its technique belong rather to Lower Syria or to Egypt. This magnificent piece bears a dated inscription, " In the year 956 in the month Jemazi-l-oola. Specimens of Turkish and other Eastern wares exist with elaborate English silver mounts of the time of Elizabeth, and these were doubtless included under the name of " Damas Wares." The painter is the poor and humble Mustafa." This is reckoned as June A.U. 1549. It may be remarked that our difficulties of identification are increased by the fact that, under Arab rule, Syrian and Persian potters were at work in Damascus, in Old Cairo and elsewhere. Among the Fostat fragments classified by Dr Fouquet are many bearing the signatures of Syrian work-men. In the 15th and 16th centuries, too, imitations of Chinese blue-and-white porcelain became common throughout the nearer East, and quantities of fragments have been found at Fostat, Ephesus and elsewhere. Turkish Pottery.—This beautiful and striking ware, formerly called Persian, and till lately Rhodian because Rhodes was a known centre of manufacture, seems to have been fabricated in all the countries overrun by the Ottoman Turks in the 13th century, so that the name " Turkish," in spite of some opposition, is now generally applied to it. (See fig. 4z; and the 16th-century Rhodian or Turkish pieces, Plate V.) It has a fine white body of the usual sandy texture, covered, as a rule, with a wash of pure white slip; it is painted in strong brilliant colours, chiefly blue, turquoise, green, and a peculiar red pigment which is heaped up in palpable relief—the whole of the ornament being outlined with black or dark green. The ware was glazed with an alkaline glaze of great depth, so that the colours soften and some-times run, producing one of the most brilliant and attractive of all the oriental wares. In certain districts the white ground was not used, but over it a slip of the red colour (Armenian bole) ,varying in strength from bright red to pale salmon, was laid over the piece, reserving the pattern only in the white slip, which consequently lies lower than the red ground. Other examples are known where the ground has been covered with lavender, blue FIG. 42.-Rhodian Jug. sage, apple and turquoise greens, chocolate or coffee-brown, and the sumptuous effect of the whole was often increased by the application of gold-leaf over the fired glaze. The decorative motives are distinguished from those of the Persian wares by a breadth and boldness which are in keeping with the brilliant, and not always harmonious, colouring. They include, it is true, the Persian arabesque, the floral scroll with feathery leaf, the thistle-bloom and the cypress tree, but the naturalistic treatment which permits immediate recognition of the favourite Turkish flowers such as the tulip, hyacinth, carnation, fritillary, corn-flower and lily (some of which were imported into Europe by the Turks), is as original and distinctive as the arrangement of the different elements of the design is artistic and charming. Other styles of design include formal patterns and diapers, rarely human and animal figures, and occasionally armorial devices and ships. Tiles of this ware were extensively used for lining the walls of public buildings, replacing the carpets and textile hangings which their designs so freely imitated. Of domestic articles, dishes are the most numerous, though vases, ewers, sprinklers, jugs, tankard-shaped flower-holders, covered bowls and mosque lamps are also plentiful. The tiles are found in all parts of the Turkish empire, though they were probably made at certain centres, such as Nicaea (which gave its name to the ware in the 16th century and no doubt supplied many of the mosques in Constantinople), Kutaia; Demitoka, Lindus and other centres in Rhodes and Damascus. Individual wares cannot be Omar. distinguished, except in some measure those of Damascus and Kutaial A small jug in the Godman Collection has an Armenian inscription stating that it was made by " Abraham of Kutaia " in the 16th century. A few fine bowls and vases, painted in a beautiful blue with Persian arabesques and rosette scrolls, recalling Chinese porcelains of the Ming dynasty, but of very characteristic appearance, are also attributed to this place; and later, in the 18th and up to the end of the 19th century, an inferior ware was largely manufactured here. This late ware usually takes the form of small objects—plates, cups, jugs, egg-shaped ornaments, &c.—with a thin, well-potted, white body and slight patterns of radiating leaves, scale diapers, &c., in blue, black and yellow. Turkish pottery was at its best in the 16th and the early part of the 17th century, and though good tile work of later date exists, the general pottery deteriorated before the 18th century. An inferior ware of poor colour is still produced in Turkey, Persia and Syria, and some attempt has been made of late to revive the old lustre decoration, but the results are not likely to be mistaken for those of old times. Collections.—The Victoria and Albert Museum contains the finest collection of the medieval pottery of the nearer East—the British Museum collection, though much smaller, has some magnificent examples. The Cluny Museum in Paris has a never-to-he-forgotten collection of Turkish pottery, especially plates and dishes. The museums of the Louvre and of Sevres have also many beautiful examples. Berlin, Frankfort and other German towns have collections, but much smaller in extent. Private collectors in England and France own many fine specimens; and mention may be made particularly of those owned by Mr Ducane Godman and Mr George Salting. HISPANO-MORESQUE POTTERY With the doings of the Moslem potters of the countries round the eastern Mediterranean fresh in our minds, it is interesting to follow the westward trend of the Moslem conquests, and see how in their wake there also sprung up in Spain a ware of high distinction and beauty. The Iberian peninsula had been the scene of pottery-making from prehistoric times --a red unglazed ware was made before the dawn of civilization as finely finished as that found in the Nile valley by Flinders Petrie (see EGYPT: Art and Archaeology), and the Romans had one of their great provincial pottery centres at Saguntum; but it was only when a great part of Spain lay under Mussulman rule that artistic and distinctive pottery was produced. What is by no means clear is how it came to pass that when the traditional methods, learnt by the Arabs in Egypt and Syria, were carried westward they should have undergone such a radical change. Oxide of tin, the opacifying and whitening material in glazes par excellence, was certainly known and used in the East from at least the 6th century B.C.; the ancient wares are coated with a covering of white tin-enamel to hide the buff or reddish-coloured clay, and it was similarly used elsewhere; but its use was sporadic and not general in those countries, where we find instead a consistent development of the pottery made with a white slip-coating and a clear alkaline glaze. Perhaps it was that at this period tin was almost as costly as gold, and it was only when potters with an oriental training brought their skill to Spain, where tin abounded, that the relative cheapness of the material led them to employ it, so far as is known, exclusively. (There is a wide distinction between the tin-enamelled and the slip-faced wares, glazed with an alkaline glaze. In the latter, the more oriental type, the slip-coating is of fine white clay and sand, and this is finished with a transparent alkaline glaze containing little or no lead : in the former there is no need of a coating of slip, forthe addition of oxide of tin to a glaze rich in lead gives a dense coating of white enamel, opaque enough to disguise the color of the clay beneath.) Such colours as were used for painted patterns were painted over this enamel coating before it was fired, so that they became perfectly incorporated with it, and then this ground furnished a splendid medium for the development of those thin iridescent metallic films that we call " lustres." The knowledge of this lustre process had been brought from the East also, where it was used on another ground, and with the growing use of lustre pigments containing copper as well as silver—until the red, strongly metallic copper lustre almost ousted the quieter silver lustres—we get the simple techn,ique of one of the most distinctive kinds of pottery known. Briefly, the wares were " thrown " upon the wheel or " pressed " on modelled forms—handles, ribs and dots of clay, or strongly incised patterns were often added by hand—and they were then fired a first time. A coating of the tin-enamel (rich in lead as well as tin) was applied, and on this coating designs were painted in cobalt and manganese; sometimes these colours were only used as masses to break up the background. Then the second firing took place and the piece came from the firing all shining and white, except where the blue or brownish purple had been painted (see fig. 43). The lustre pigments, a mixture of sulphide of copper or sulphide of silver, or both with red ochre or other earth, was then painted over the glazed surface with vinegar as a medium. The repainted piece was fired a third time to a dull red heat, and smoked with the smoke from the wood used in firing, and when cold the loosely adherent ochre and metallic ash left were washed off, leaving the iridescent films in all their beauty. The technical practices of the Spanish potters and the composition of the lustre pigments are given in Cocks's account of the processes followed at Muel (Aragon) in 1585. The Manises receipt of 1785 gives: copper 3 oz., red ochre 12 ozr, silver 1 peseta piece, sulphur 3 oz., vinegar 1 qt. and the ashes scraped off the pots after lustring 36 oz.' Interesting documents have recently been published concerning the works executed by the " Saracen," John of Valencia, at Poitiers in 1384, and it is certain, from the list of materials supplied to him, that he made there tiles that were enamelled and lustred. The earliest record of lustred pottery in Spain is tie geographer Edrisi's mention of the manufacture of " golden ware " then carried on at Calatayud in Aragon in 1154. Ibn Said (I 214-1286.) ' See Riaiio, Spanish Arts, Victoria and Albert Museum Hand-book, pp. 149-151; and Sobre la manera de fabricar la antigua loza dorada de Maniscs (1878). ITALIAN] speaks of the glass and the golden pottery made at Murcia (city), Almeria and Malaga. From the 14th century the notices which have come down to us divide themselves into two main groups relating to the industry (a) at Malaga; (b) at various localities, but especially Manises in Valencia. Malaga.—Malaga was situated within the Moorish kingdom of Granada, which formed, from 1235 until the late 15th century, the last remnant of Moorish dominion in Spain. Here under the art-loving Nasride dynasty, Mussulman arts and learning flourished to an unprecedented degree. In 1337 Ahmed ben-Yahya al-Omarf enumerates, among the craft productions of Malaga, its golden pottery, the like of which he declares is not to be met with elsewhere. The Moroccan traveller Ibn Batuta mentions (135o) the Malagan golden pottery, as does Ibn al-Hatib (1313–1374) of Granada, in his description of Malaga. The principal monument of the period is the royal palace of Granada, begun in 1273, and finished during the 14th century, from which period most of its ornamentation dates. Two vases were discovered there, of which the existing one, known as the " Alhambra vase," is admittedly the most imposing product of Hispano-Moresque ceramic art extant. Its amphora-shaped body (4 ft. 5 in. high) is encircled by a band of Arabic inscription, above which are depicted gazelles reserved in cream and golden lustre upon a blue field; the rest of the body and the prominent handles are covered with compartments of arabesques and inscriptions in the same colours; and panels on the neck, divided by mouldings and decorated with strap-work and arabesques. Vases similar in shape and technique, with ornament of Cufic characters and arabesques in horizontal rows, are to be found in the museums at St Petersburg, Palermo and Stockholm. As to the exact date of these, experts are not agreed. Though presenting all the characteristics of the 14th-century Hispano-Moresque ornament, it seems probable that they were produced at the same period as the large lustred wall-tile formerly in the Fortuny (now in the Osma) collection, an inscription upon which is by some held to refer to Yusuf III. of Granada (1409-1418), not to Yusuf I. (1333–1354)• Another remarkable example is a dish (Sarre collection, Berlin), which, it is claimed, bears upon its back, in Arabic, the word Malaga; it is ornamented with eight segmental compartments filled alternately with strap-work designs and arabesques in lustre. Malaga was reconquered by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1487, and after this its industry probably decayed, as it is not mentioned by Lucio Marineo in 1539 among the localities where ceramics then flourished. Valencia.—The emirate of Valencia was reconquered by Aragon in 1238. The history of its lustred ware is known from 1383, when Eximenes (whose evidence has been erroneously held to date from 1499) mentions the golden ware (Obra dorada) of Manises. Valencian pottery of this kind was an offshoot of the Malagan industry, as in documents lately published (ranging from 1405 to 1517) it is repeatedly designated Malaga ware (Obra de Malaga). Its decorative qualities became famous throughout the whole of Europe and North Africa. The ware was chiefly manufactured at Manises by the Moorish retainers of the Buyl or Boil family, lords of Manises. who levied dues upon the output of the kilns, and occasionally arranged for its sale. It is distinguished as regards its ornamentation from the pottery of Malaga by the adoption of a more natural rendering of plant form motives and by the use of armory. The ware consists of drug pots, deep dishes, large and small plates, aquamaniles, vases, &c. Some dozen varieties of ornament were employed during the 15th and early 16th centuries, including mock arable inscriptions, various flower or foliage patterns taken from the vine, bryony, &c., and gadroons. The centres of dishes frequently bear the arms of a king or queen of Aragon, of the Buyls of Manises, or other Valencian or Italian families for whom they were made. Great dexterity is shown in the execution of minute and complicated schemes of ornament and in the richness of the colour schemes; golden lustre of various hues, with blue and manganese, form the simple combinations, but the ruby, violet or opalescent lustre combine to produce with the colours a wonderful decorative effect. From 1500 the use of blue and731 manganese was gradually discontinued and the ornament quickly became nondescript, but the brilliancy of the lustre pigment nevertheless obtained a wide popularity for the ware, as is attested by Marineo (1539), Viciana (1564) and Escolano (161o). After the expulsion of the Moriscoes (1609) the industry was carried on by those who had escaped deportation or by Spaniards who had learnt the craft; generally speaking their productions can be summed up in the word " decadence." In the course of the 15th century the manufacture of lustred pottery was carried on at various other small towns near Valencia; in 1484 it was produced at Mislata, Paterna and Gesarte. It is known to have flourished at Calatayud in 1507, and at Muel, also in Aragon, in 1589. In the Valencia district much pottery for ordinary use, ornamented with blue on white, was also produced. Majorca.—Scaliger, in 1557, states that Chinese porcelain was imitated in the Balearic Isles, and that the Italians called these imitations " majolica," changing the letter in the name of the islands (then called Majorica) where they originated. The truth would appear to be that Valencian wares, being exported in Balearic vessels that called at Majorca on the voyage to Italy, acquired a reputed Mallorcan origin. There is extant a potter's petition praying for permission to establish himself in Majorca (156o), in which he states that " Manises ware," &c., had to be imported, as it was not made there. Collections.—In England, the Victoria and Albert and the British Museums have fine collections of this ware. At Paris the Cluny Museum collection, and the Louvre; the museum at Sevres contains many fine typical pieces. Another good collection is that of the archaeological museum at Madrid. The Berlin and the Hamburg museums, the Metropolitan Art Museum at New York and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts also contain good specimens. The private collections of England, France and Italy are rich in these wares, among the finest being those of Mr F. D. Godman (Horsham), and of Don G. J. de Osma (Madrid).
End of Article: EGYPTIAN AND TURKISH SYRIAN PERSIAN
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