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Lustre-painted ceramic tiles


Height: 55.000 cm
Width: 46.000 cm

Godman Bequest

ME OA G 1983.204, 1-4

Room 34: The Islamic world


    Lustre-painted ceramic tiles

    From Kashan, Iran
    Early 14th century AD

    From an inscription frieze

    These four tiles are part of a longer frieze with an inscription written in Kufic script. It reads 'bism al]lah al-rahmān al-rahĪm la 'ilah illa huwa al 'azĪz al-hakĪm' ('[in the name of] God the most merciful, the most compassionate, there is no god but Him, the all-powerful, the all-ruling').

    Pairs of long letter-stems are elaborately knotted together, and then continue upwards to the top of the tile to frame the lustre-painted decoration. Between the cobalt-blue letter stalks, spiralling leafy scrolls are painted in reserve white against brown lustre. This motif of placing a cobalt script in relief against lustre pattern was typical among the tile makers of Kashan since the thirteenth century.

    V. Porter, Islamic tiles (London, The British Museum Press, 1995)


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    On display: Room 34: The Islamic world

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    Islamic tiles, £10.99

    Islamic tiles, £10.99