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Star-Shaped Tile with a Dragon

A work made of molded fritware with enamel and gold leaf decorations and turquoise glaze.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of molded fritware with enamel and gold leaf decorations and turquoise glaze.


Ilkhanid dynasty (1256–1353), Late 13th century


Probably Kashan

About this artwork

A raised dragon decorates this eight-pointed star tile produced during the Ilkhanid period, a time when the Mongol dynasty controlled northwest Iran. Chinese dragons were common motifs of Ilkhanid ceramics, and their presence reveals the influence of East Asian visual culture on Iranian ceramics at this historical moment. Although the dragon motif may have been borrowed from afar, the method of production was local to Iranian potters. The lajvardina technique, used to create the rich colorful effect of this tile, involved a process of dual firings and was developed in Kashan during the Ilkhanid period. A solid underglaze base of cobalt blue, turquoise blue, or white would be applied as a first layer. Overglaze painting was then used in black, white, and red enamels with highlights of gold during a second firing. Numerous tiles with dragons were found at Takht-i Sulayman, the summer palace constructed in the 1270s for Abaqa, the Mongol Ilkhan. Tiles served decorative and architectural purposes during the Ilkhanid period. An eight-pointed star tile such as this one might have been combined with other tiles to decorate the interior walls of buildings.


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Arts of Asia




Star-Shaped Tile with a Dragon


Iran (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Molded fritware with enamel and gold leaf decorations and turquoise glaze


21.2 × 21.2 × 1.5 cm (8 5/16 × 8 5/16 × 3 in.)

Credit Line

Bequest of Hans G. Cahen

Reference Number


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