Spouted jug with dragon handle

From Kutahya, modern Turkey
AD 1510

Inscribed with the name of the owner, 'Abraham of Kutahya'

The jug may have been used as a liturgical vessel.

The Armenian inscription on the base identifies its Christian owner, Abraham of Kutahya. Inscribed or dated pieces of Iznik pottery are rare, and are used by scholars to date material of a similar style. This can sometimes be misleading. For example, because of the rare inscription and date on this jug, 'Abraham of Kutahya' was the name commonly given to the whole early period of blue and white Iznik pottery, even though the jug is not representative of the various styles of the earliest Iznik wares, and Kutahya was not the only centre of production.

The long spout and angular shape suggest that the jug was made in imitation of metalwork, while the choice of colours is probably influenced by blue and white Chinese porcelain imports. The curving handle is in the shape of a scaly dragon's neck and head, biting at the top of the jug. The decoration is entirely in cobalt underglaze blue against white slip (liquid clay).

Find in the collection online

More information


N. Atasoy and J. Raby, Iznik: the pottery of Ottoman (London, Alexandria Press, 1989)

J.M. Rogers and R. Ward, Suleyman the Magnificent (London, The British Museum Press, 1988)

A. Lane, Later Islamic pottery: Persia, (London, Faber and Faber, 1957)

J. Carswell, Iznik pottery (London, The British Museum Press, 1998)


Height: 17.800 cm
Diameter: 6.900 cm (rim)
Diameter: 6.900 cm (rim)

Museum number

ME OA G 1983.1


Godman Bequest


Find in the collection online

Search highlights

There are over 4,000 highlight objects to explore