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Four Tiles with a Figural Scene

A work made of four tiles that make up a figurative scene, blue, yellow and green.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of four tiles that make up a figurative scene, blue, yellow and green.

Date:

Safavid dynasty (1501–1722), 17th century

Artist:

Iran
Isfahan

About this artwork

The practice of decorating tiles with bright colors outlined in black was known as cuerda seca, which translates as “dry cord” from Spanish. Cuerda seca developed in the Islamic lands of Spain, Iran, and Central Asia at the end of the 14th century and remained popular in these regions for several centuries. The black line between colors allowed for carefully distinguished forms that otherwise might have been muddles during the firing process.These tiles are a section of a larger scene depicting the life of the epic Persian hero Bahram Gur. Here, gazelles festively play along the bank of a river as young man plays the flute and another presumably bridles a horse, of which only the nose is visible. Similar figures appear in different sets of tiles, evidence of the use of pattern books or stock images for similar scenes. The tales of Bahram Gur were popular subjects for both smaller decorative objects and long epic books, such as the lavishly decorated Khamsa of Nizami, a 16th-century manuscript created for the Mughal Emperor Akbar.

On View

Arts of Asia, Gallery 50

Title

Four Tiles with a Figural Scene

Origin

Persia

Date

Made 1601–1700

Medium

Four tiles that make up a figurative scene, blue, yellow and green

Dimensions

24.2 × 24.2 × 2.2 cm (9 1/2 × 9 1/2 × 7/8 in.)

Credit Line

Mary Jane Gunsaulus Collection

Reference Number

1917.797a-d

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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