A Safavid Blue-and-white bottle
This blue-and-white bottle has a straight, tapering neck ending in a very narrow mouth. The round, bulbous body is supported by a low, rounded foot. The bottle is painted using a greyish blue colour throughout. Around the neck are narrow vertical cartouches, each containing a figure standing in a landscape. Below the cartouches is a horizontal, concentric field of geometrical pattern, followed by a band of white floral motifs on a dark blue background. The main body is a landscape composition which contains fantastical animals, flowing streams and various types of trees and flowers. Below the landscape composition, above the foot ring, is a thin concentric band of pseudo calligraphy. At the base is a potter’s mark in square shape enclosing several increasingly smaller squares.
The longneck bottle shape has had a long history in Persian pottery production and are frequently illustrated in Persian manuscript paintings. The blue-and-white pottery production in Iran in the seventeenth century was a response to the popular demand, from both the domestic market and abroad, for Chinese blue-and-white porcelains. As such, designs on many Persian blue-and-white ceramics are reminiscent of their Chinese counterparts, whilst also reflecting Persian potters’ own artistic expressions.
The use of the greyish blue colour suggests this bottle was most likely produced during Shah Sulayman I (1666-1694)’s reign, as this period saw a large amount of pottery of the same colour being produced. A plate at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (167-1884) is painted in the same colour scheme as our example and contains a haloed figure very similar to the haloed figures on our bottle’s neck.
Crowe, Yolande. Persia and China : Safavid Blue and White Ceramics in the Victoria & Albert Museum, 1501-1738. S.l.: La Borie, 2002.