Persian market, dated 1854

Reference#: P3856

Diameter: 6 7/8 inches (17.5 cm.)

Mottahedeh Collection, illustrated in Howard/Ayers 1978, Volume II, number 496, page 482.

Like the large bowl and dish illustrated on this page, this small bowl is of an extraordinary quality for having been produced in the mid-nineteenth century. Decorated in “famille rose” enamels and gilt, the exterior is painted with oblong cartouches containing either colorful birds perched on rockwork and flowering branches, or a gilt inscription, contained within an oval panel of turquoise trellis diaper. The gilt ground that surrounds the panels also reserves a finely painted meandering peony vine with richly enameled pink blossoms and green leaves, incorporating fluttering butterflies. The interior is painted with a wide band of the same ground pattern and is repeated in the center encircling a medallion of further birds and blossoms.
Howard and Ayers note that the saucer dish from the same service in the Mottahedeh collection, “shows a quality of workmanship and fearlessness of colour and cost not witnessed since export ware of the Yung Chêng period.”1 Although a bit more heavily potted than the typical Yongzheng period eggshell piece, the enameling on this bowl is truly of a quality that rivals the finest Yongzheng period porcelains. The gilt inscriptions in Arabic and Persian contain a few errors, due to the painter’s unfamiliarity with the language. The panel in Arabic (not shown) can be generally translated as: “The Salutation of God be upon Husayn and the members of his house and his followers. The curse of God be upon Yazid and his (Husayn’s) enemies. AH 1271 [1854].”2 The Persian inscription (shown) reads: “Have a drink of water and invoke a curse of God on Yazid. Give your life as a sacrifice to the body of the martyred King. AH 1271.”3

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