About this artwork
This bowl belongs a group of ceramics known as Sultanabad wares, named after the city in western Iran. Although these wares were found in Sultanabad, their origins of production are not certain, but their decorative schemes often illustrate the conflation of Chinese and Iranian visual motifs. The phoenix, depicted three times here, is a common motif of Mongol ceramics. Like the lotus flower depicted on another Sultanabad ware, the phoenix was imported from China, although they both lacked imperial associations in their new Ilkhanid context. In medieval Iran, the phoenix was conflated with the mythical figure of the simurgh, a legendary bird from the epic poem, the Shahnameh (Book of Kings). Sultanabad wares are also distinguished by their hemispherical shape, which approximates the shape of Chinese celadon bowls. The muted brown-grey palette of this bowl reflects a color scheme found in many other Sultanabad vessels, but this bowl also shimmers iridescent under light.
- Bowl with Birds
- Fritware painted with gray and white slips under a transparent glaze
- Mary Jane Gunsaulus Collection