Monday, 24 February 2020

Iranian globe cup

I’m still trying to perfect my Iranian globe cup and handle. I think I’m getting closer and closer but there are still quite a few failures that don’t make the cut. These are a tab small but fit my hands well enough. Made from PB103 to produce a white base for optimum decoration.

Others may disagree, but I’m not a fan of the single finger handle on the left. It doesn’t have a good hand feel and would get worse with increased size.

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Chola garb

A copper alloy figure of Parvati, Tamil Nadu, Chola Period, 12th century. Bonhams Auctions, Indian, Himilean and Southeast Asian art sale, item 3074

I've been writing a lot about ceramic recently so I decided to purge my Drafts collection and complete a few posts in the new year. That was all well and good for a whole, three posts until I stumbled upon a reference and down the rabbit hole I went. This Chola statue is so well photographed I thought I'd dedicate a whole post to unravelling it for future use.

Tamil Nadu is located in the southern tip of India. The capital is currently Chennai (previously called Madras). The map above displays the general extent of the Chola Dynasty however it's influence extended far beyond this to Java and beyond. The Chola Dynasty left it's mark in history in many ways, but this posts focus is their acclaimed copper alloy statues of the 12-13th century. One statue in particular for auction at Bonhams is a beautiful example and has some very high resolution images, perfect for the armchair reenactor. All images below will be of this statue unless stated otherwise.

This is what caught my eye first. Are they amazing floral droopy earrings or braids decorated with flowers? The necklaces appear to be multiple individual necklaces stacked upon themselves with a single clasp seen from the back that peeks out from under her curls.

On her arms, she has tied a decorative plaque and a plain, circular armband as well. I originally thought this was one larger cuff but the jewellery on her right arm dips towards each other suggesting they are individual pieces. She also wears multiple bangles and finger rings. Around her ankles, she appears to have little balls, bells or mangos perhaps?

Drape: Parvati wears an assymetric (veshti / vaetti - tamil, or dhoti - sanskrit) drape with one leg wrapped to a few centimeters above the ankle and the other resting gently on the knee. 
Depending on your interpretation, you could construct bands of floral patterns with leaves, or alternatively, geometric designs or potentially human torsos. I do like the floral patterns best but interestingly, there are whole flowers in places and halves in others. Th designs don't seem to cross the horizontal stripes. Are these supposed to represent block printing, woven patterns or thin bands of fabric joined together?

The girdle (red) appears to be a wide band slung low over the hips. Three loops on each side progress from just outside the buttcheek (so you dont sit on them) around and connect to the front. The top and the bottom of the girdle are stiff yet flexible. I suspect they are fabric. There is a possibility this is the top edge of the dhoti garment folded over but I doubt it. The girdle seems to be wrapped around the waist, possibly tied, and then secured with a beaded belt. 

The beaded belt appears to be a double set of plaques or beads. At the centre front, and centre back, two larger plaque sections provide and avenue for tightening. The pink loops can be pulled to tighten the cord that runs through the beads. At the front the spare piece of cord or sash is tighten through the top most plaques and the falls to one side (pink). This would suggest that the end plaques on the back have two holes through which the cord / sash is run to prevent the fabric from slipping. The top front fastening could be achieved by running three pieces of fabric through one hole but a double hole would make removing the belt less likely to create a situation in which it'd need to be restrung. I am really going to have to play around with this design to see if my ideas would work!

Monday, 20 January 2020

Blue on White ceramics - an ongoing bibliography

I should have posted this a while ago, please note, this page is updated as I find more gems. My collection of Blue on White ceramic images mapped to location of creation. Note: only 80 items initially load, you need to scroll to the end of the collection before they'll all show up on the map. Zoom into your area of interest to see clusters around centers of production.

(Japan and The Netherlands) A good 28 page article on the porcelain trade by the VOC from 1600 - 1660's. Discusses the introduction of Chinese porcelain via captured Portaguse ships in 1602 and 1604
Keel, C. 2007. Early 17th century Chinese Trade Ceramics for the Dutch Market: Distribution, Types and Consumption in Proceedings of the International Symposium: Chinese export ceramics in the 16th and 17th centuries

(Iraq, Iran and Egypt) A section on the Abbasiddian potters from a web based teaching course on islamic ceramics hosted by the Ashmolean Museum. 

(Iraq, Iran and Egypt) A PDF article on the Abbasid perception of Chinese Ceramics.
Hallet, J. 2010 Pearl Cups like the Moon, The Abbasid perception of Chinese Ceramics. Shipwrecked: Tang Treasures and Monsoon Winds.. eds Krahl, R. Guy, J. Wilson, J.K. Raby, J. Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, pp 75-81
(Iraq and Egypt) A great scientific paper PDF on the reciprocal influence of Tang China and Abbasid Iraq ceramics.

Wood, N., and Tite, M., (2009), ‘Blue and White – the Early Years : Tang China and Abbasid Iraq compared.’ Transfer : The Influence of China on World Ceramics. (Colloquies on Art & Archaeology in Asia No. 24. Percival David Foundation of Chinese Art. ed. Stacey Person, ed. London University, pp 21-45

(Iraq) A short article on Basra's Potters and their developments
Attwood, R. 2005 Basra's Inventive Potters. Archeology Reviews. Vol 58, 2.

(Iraq, Iran, Egypt, China, Turkey) A PhD thesis I'd really like to get my hands on, scientific analysis of the origins of cobalt.

Wen, R. 2012. The cobalt blue pigment used on Islamic ceramics and chinese blue-and-white porcelain. PhD Thesis, University of Oxford.

(China) A nice summary of political China and some great post-period items.

(Iran - Timurid) Golombek, L. Mason, R.B. Bailey, A. 1996 Tamerlane's tableware: A new approach to the chinoiserie ceramics of fifteenth-sixteenth century Iran. Mazda Publishers  ISBN 10: 1568590431

(Iran - Safavid) Golombek, L. Mason, R.B. Bailey, A. 2013 Persian pottery in the first global age: The sizteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. Brill. ISBN 10: 9004260927

(Iran - Ayyubid) Milwright, M. 1999. Pottery in the written sources of the Ayyubid-Mamluk period (c. 567-923 / 1171-1517). Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Vol 62, No 3. pp 504-518.

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Buff green Pt 3 - Sultanabad inspiration

My buff test tile with Pale Jade circled. It's a reasonably boring colour though it might be good for replicating the celadon glazes of China.

I had another 12th century Iranian shaped cup so I decided that since I love sultanabad-ware so much I should try another experiment to see if I can replicate it with a clear turquoise / blue glaze. This cup has been underglazed in black oxide and what is called "Pale Jade". The Pale Jade under the clear glaze looks more like a very light blue. I'm hoping a transparent green coat will bring it to a more appropriate colour. I'm also hoping the difference between the buff colour and the pale jade will be sufficient to replicate the tonal differences seen in the Sultanabadware.

Sultanabad-ware underglaze

When decorating this cup I didn't want to copy a extant piece exactly because I'd already done that with my Lochac 12th night A&S entry (Part 1 of this Buff green set). Instead I used general references from my Sultanabad Pinterest collection.

Update: post firing.

Oh wow! I love this piece. The buff area has come out even more green than the jade area. When I was dipping the cup in the two green over glazes I noticed the overglaze didn’t really coat the underglaze. This may be because the bisque pores were full of glaze and couldn’t absorb mire water reducing the ‘stick’.

I can’t decide if the opaque green glaze was too thick here or if there simply hasn’t been sufficient heat. Either way, there are some cloudy areas which needs more investigation. It all seems to be around the rim...

Saturday, 11 January 2020

Buff green Pt 2 - 12th night image references

late 12th
Rayy, Iran
Late 12th
Kashan, Iran
Late 12th
early 13th
Kashan, Iran
Kashan, Iran
900-700 BCE
Tepe Sialk, Iran
Kashan, Iran
Kashan, Iran
Late 12th
Kashan, Iran