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
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Ceramic, Vessel


Iran, Lustre ware, Saljuq period (1037 - 1300), WWII-era provenance
Provenance information is currently unavailable
Previous Owner(s)

Hagop Kevorkian 1872 - 1962


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
  • Dr. Esin Atil. Ceramics from the World of Islam. Exh. cat. Washington, 1973. cat. 28, p. 68-69.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. Exhibition of 2500 Years of Persian Art. Exh. cat. Washington, 1971. cat. 74, p. 22.
  • Annette Hagedorn. Islamic Art. Germany. p. 47.
  • The Legacy of Persia. Oxford, UK. pl. 36a.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. Islamic Art in the Freer Gallery. vol. 3, no. 3, Autumn 1985. p. 59, fig. 7.
  • Sheila Blair Jonathan M. Bloom. Islamic Arts. Art and Ideas London. pp. 266-8, fig. 142.
  • Etienne Combe, Jean Sauvaget, Gaston Wiet. Repertoire chronologique d'epigraphie arabe. Cairo. cat. 3672, p. 52.
  • Masterpieces of Western and Near Eastern Ceramics. 8 vols., Tokyo and New York. pl. 34.
  • R. L. Devonshire. Moslem Objects in the Eumorfopoulos Collection. vol. 5, no. 25 London, January 1927. p. 16, fig. 5.
  • Encyclopedia of Islam. Suppl. vol., Leiden and London. pl. 2.
  • Richard Ettinghausen. Islamic Art and Archaeology: Collected Papers. Berlin. pp. 579-641.
  • Richard Ettinghausen. Medieval Near Eastern Ceramics in the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington and Baltimore. p. 26.
  • Robert L. Hobson W. Perceval Yetts. The George Eumorfopoulos Collection of Chinese, Corean, and Persian Pottery and Porcelain. 6 vols., London. cat. F403, pl. 66.
  • George Hill. The Eumorfopoulos Collection. vol. 76, no. 447 London, June 1940. p. 43.
  • Farhad Daftary Zulfikar Hirji. The Ismailis: An Illustrated History. London. p. 135.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Zaky Mohammed Hasan. Al-Funun al Iraniya fil-Asr al-Islami: Persian Art in the Moslem Period., 2nd ed. Cairo. pl. 87.
  • Raymond Koechlin Gaston Migeon. Islamische Kunstwerke: Keramik, Gewebe, Teppiche in farbiger Wiedergabe auf 100 Tafeln
    . Berlin. pl. 20.
  • Hermann Goetz Ernst Kuhnel. unknown article. vols. 1-2 Leipzig, 1924-1925. pp. 42-52, pl. 23, fig. 1.
  • Arthur Lane. Early Islamic Pottery: Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Persia. Faber Monographs on Pottery and Porcelain London. pl. 64b.
  • Larkin Gallery, London. A Few Examples of Oriental Art, Illustrated in color, Selected from the Larkin Gallery. London. pl. 3.
  • Catalogue of the International Exhibition of Persian Art. Exh. cat. London. case 159.
  • Matthias Ostermann. The Ceramic Narrative. London and Philadelphia, PA. fig. 13.
  • Eric Newton. The Arts of Man: An Anthology and Interpretation of Great Works of Art. Greenwich, CT. p. 286, pl. 154.
  • Oriental Ceramics (Toyo Toji Taikan): The World's Great Collections. 12 vols., Tokyo. pl. 276.
  • 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.
  • Henri Riviere Gaston Migeon. La Ceramique dans l'art Musulman. 2 vols., Paris. pl. 35.
  • Sekai bijutsu zenshu (A Complete Collection of World Art). 40 vols., Tokyo, 1960-1966. pl. 21.
  • Fukai Shinji. A Study of a Silver Wine-Cup Excavated in the Gilan Province. no. 842 Tokyo, May 1962. p. 200.
  • Oliver Watson. Persian Luster Ware. The Faber monographs on pottery and porcelain Boston and London. p. 91.
  • Gaston Wiet. L'Exposition Persane de 1931. Exh. cat. Cairo, 1932-1933. cat. 32, p. 33.
  • , Robert H Dyson, Jr., Charles K. Wilkinson, Prudence O. Harper. Highlights of Persian Art. Persian Art Series, no. 1 Boulder, CO. p. 128, fig. 71.
  • Ralph Pinder Wilson. Islamic Art: One Hundred Plates in Colour with an Introductory Essay on Islamic Art. London. pl. 19.
  • Yakimono jiten. Tokyo. p. 306.
  • India Winter. Minai Ceramics. vol. 4, no. 1. Boston. p.63.
  • Arthur Upham Pope. The Spirit of Persian Art. vol. 51, January 1931. p. 7.
  • Jose Pijoan. Arte Islamico. vol. 12, Summa artis, historia general del arte, 1st ed. Madrid. p. 305, fig. 416.
  • Richard Ettinghausen Ernst Kuhnel. A Survey of Persian Art from Prehistoric Times to the Present. 6 vols., London and New York, 1938 - 1939. pp. 1586, 1673, pl. 708.
  • 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.
  • Rhages, 1210. vol. 99 London, January-June 1937. p. 47.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum