The town of Kashan, currently located in the
Isfahan province of Iran, has been historically
associated with a high-quality ceramic production
during the medieval period, becoming a major
site for the manufacture of fine wares between
the 1170s and 1220s as well as in the later 13th
and early 14th centuries.
Luster, having been first used on glazed pottery in
9th century Iraq, became very popular in the
10th-12th centuries in Fatimid Egypt, and then
reached new heights in Seljuk Iran around the
13th century, before the Mongol invasions.
The centre of the Persian luster industry was
Kashan.The creation of luster-painted ware is a
costly process that requires considerable
expertise. Compounds containing metal oxides,
sulphur, and a refractory medium, such as ochre,
are painted onto a previously glazed and fired
surface. On the wares associated with Kashan
the glaze was normally opacified with tin,
although a (presumably cheaper) clear glaze was
sometimes used for the internal surfaces of
closed forms such as bottles and jugs.
During this period, Muslim potters developed a
new and finer material than clay, “fritt”, consisting
of about ten parts of crushed quartz, one part
white clay and one part glass frit made by melting
crushed quarts and potash and crushing the
The vessel has a bulbous body and a slight
flaring neck, with one handle. It is profusely
decorated with brown luster with panels and
friezes containing vegetal patterns. The top rim is
decorated in luster on an opacified tin glaze with
a broad band of chain pattern.
Traces of cobalt blue are clearly visible on the jar.
Adding cobalt blue to the luster decoration was
also a typical feature of Kashan ware.