Dish with scalloped upright sides and a narrow grooved rim. Broken, repaired and in places restored with plaster, painted.
Clay: soft, white.
Glaze: opaque cream-white.
Decoration: painted in golden-brown lustre with ruby reflections.
Signature, date and inscriptions.

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Artist: Shamsuddin al-Hasani Abu Zayd
Historical period(s)
Saljuq period, December 1210 (Jumadi II 607 A.H.)
Stone-paste painted over glaze with luster
Lustre ware
H x W x D: 3.7 x 35.2 x 35.2 cm (1 7/16 x 13 7/8 x 13 7/8 in)
Iran, Kashan
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 03: Engaging the Senses
Ceramic, Vessel


Iran, Lustre ware, Saljuq period (1037 - 1300)
Provenance research underway.

Dish with scalloped upright sides and a narrow grooved rim. Broken, repaired and in places restored with plaster, painted.
Clay: soft, white.
Glaze: opaque cream-white.
Decoration: painted in golden-brown lustre with ruby reflections.
Signature, date and inscriptions.


Date, and inscriptions


The composition on this plate, one of the most complex on any known Persian lusterware, has been read as a mystical allegory regarding the quest for the Divine. According to this interpretation, the sleeping youth represents the mystic who yearns to transcend the material world, symbolized by the horse. The youth's goal is to attain a vision of divine beauty (i.e., union with God), signifed here by the naked woman floating in the fishpond. It is the only known extant plate with such an unusual and spiritually inspired iconography. One of the inscriptions records that the plate was made by Shamsuddin al-Hasani Abu Zayd, an accomplished potter of the early thirteenth century.

Published References
  • Sotheby's (London). The Eumorfopoulos Collections: Catalogue of the Collection of Persian ceramics & Islamic glass, Egyptian, Greek and Roman Antiquities, Choice Medieval & Renaissance Works of Art. London, 1940. no. 59, opp. p. 20.
  • Richard Ettinghausen, Ernst Kuhnel. A Survey of Persian Art from Prehistoric Times to the Present. 6 vols., London and New York, 1938 - 1939. vol. 2: pp. 1586, 1673, vol. 5: pl. 708.
  • Ralph Pinder Wilson. Islamic Art: One Hundred Plates in Colour with an Introductory Essay on Islamic Art. London. pl. 19.
  • Sekai bijutsu zenshu [A Complete Collection of World Art]. 40 vols., Tokyo, 1960-1966. vol. 22, vol. 22: pl. 21.
  • Henri Riviere, Gaston Migeon. La Ceramique dans l'art Musulman. 2 vols., Paris. vol. 1: pl. 35.
  • Oriental Ceramics: The World's Great Collections. 12 vols., Tokyo. vol. 10, pl. 276.
  • Matthias Ostermann. The Ceramic Narrative. London and Philadelphia. fig. 13.
  • Catalogue of the International Exhibition of Persian Art. Exh. cat. London. .
  • Larkin Gallery. A Few Examples of Oriental Art, Illustrated in color, Selected from the Larkin Gallery. London. pl. 3.
  • Arthur Lane. Early Islamic Pottery: Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Persia. Faber Monographs on Pottery and Porcelain London. pl. 64b.
  • Raymond Koechlin, Gaston Migeon. Islamische Kunstwerke: Keramik, Gewebe, Teppiche in farbiger Wiedergabe auf 100 Tafeln
    . Berlin. pl. 20.
  • Zaky Mohammed Hasan. Al-Funun al Iraniya fil-Asr al-Islami: Persian Art in the Moslem Period., 2nd ed. Cairo. pl. 87.
  • Robert L. Hobson, W. Perceval Yetts. The George Eumorfopoulos Collection of Chinese, Corean, and Persian Pottery and Porcelain. 6 vols., London. cat. F403, vol. 6: pl. 66.
  • Encyclopedia of Islam. Suppl. vol., Leiden and London. pl. 2.
  • Masterpieces of Western and Near Eastern Ceramics. 8 vols., Tokyo and New York. pl. 34.
  • The Legacy of Persia. Oxford. pl. 36a.
  • Arthur Upham Pope. The Spirit of Persian Art. vol. 51, January 1931. p. 7.
  • R. L. Devonshire. Moslem Objects in the Eumorfopoulos Collection. vol. 5, no. 25 London, January 1927. p. 16, fig. 5.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. Exhibition of 2500 Years of Persian Art. Exh. cat. Washington, 1971. cat. 74, p. 22.
  • Oya Pancaroglu. Perpetual Glory: Medieval Islamic Ceramics from the Harvey B. Plotnick Collection. Exh. cat. Chicago and New Haven, March 31 - October 28, 2007. p. 25, fig. 11.
  • Richard Ettinghausen, Grace Dunham Guest. The Iconography of a Kashan Luster Plate. vol. 4 Washington and Ann Arbor. pp. 25-64, pl. 1, fig.1.
  • Richard Ettinghausen. Medieval Near Eastern Ceramics in the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington and Baltimore. p. 26.
  • Freer Gallery of Art. The Freer Gallery of Art. Washington. p. 27.
  • Ernst Grube. The World of Islam. Landmarks of the World's Art London. p. 30, pl. 18.
  • Gaston Wiet. L'Exposition Persane de 1931. Exh. cat. Cairo, 1932-1933. cat. 32, p. 33.
  • Hermann Goetz, Ernst Kuhnel., vols. 1-2 Leipzig, 1924-1925. pp. 42-52, pl. 23, fig. 1.
  • George Hill. The Eumorfopoulos Collection. vol. 76, no. 447 London, June 1940. p. 43.
  • Rhages, 1210. vol. 99 London, January-June 1937. p. 47.
  • Annette Hagedorn. Islamic Art. Germany. p. 47.
  • Etienne Combe, Jean Sauvaget, Gaston Wiet. Repertoire chronologique d'epigraphie arabe. Cairo. cat. 3672, p. 52.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. Islamic Art in the Freer Gallery. vol. 3, no. 3, Autumn 1985. p. 59, fig. 7.
  • India Winter. Minai Ceramics. vol. 4, no. 1 Boston. p.63.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. Ceramics from the World of Islam. Exh. cat. Washington, 1973. cat. 28, pp. 68-69.
  • Oliver Watson. Persian Luster Ware. The Faber monographs on pottery and porcelain Boston and London. p. 91.
  • , Robert H Dyson, Jr., Charles K. Wilkinson, Prudence Oliver Harper. Highlights of Persian Art. Persian Art Series, no. 1 Boulder. p. 128, fig. 71.
  • Farhad Daftary, Zulfikar Hirji. The Ismailis: An Illustrated History. London. p. 135.
  • Fukai Shinji. A Study of a Silver Wine-Cup Excavated in the Gilan Province. no. 842 Tokyo, May 1962. p. 200.
  • Sheila Blair, Jonathan M. Bloom. Islamic Arts. Art and Ideas London. pp. 266-8, fig. 142.
  • Eric Newton. The Arts of Man: An Anthology and Interpretation of Great Works of Art. Greenwich, Connecticut. p. 286, pl. 154.
  • Jose Pijoan. Arte Islamico. vol. 12, Summa artis, historia general del arte, 1st ed. Madrid. p. 305, fig. 416.
  • Yakimono jiten. Tokyo. p. 306.
  • Roy P. Mottahedeh, Majid Montazer Mahdi. Cities of Medieval Iran. Leiden, 2021. p. 408, fig. 2.
  • Islamic Art and Archaeology: Collected Papers. Berlin. pp. 579-641.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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