There are over 700 Iranian bronzes dating from the 7th to 20th centuries, showing the development of one of the most beautiful and important artistic crafts in Iran. These items are known by specialists and art lovers around the world – a qalamdan (pen-case), the earliest bronze object with Persian verses (1148); a cast aquamanile in the form of a cow with its calf, the last known example of a Persian vessel in animal form (before the depiction of living beings was forbidden); and a bucket from Khorasan with numerous inscriptions.
Iranian pottery and faience came from a variety of artistic centers in Iran and included both utensils and fragments of architectural decoration. Of interest amongst the early Iranian pottery is a large painted vessel decorated with scenes of playing polo and hunting (Khashan, 13th century). The tiles from the mausoleum of Imam-zade Yahya in Veramin (1261-1263) are typical of the decoration of religious buildings. Amongst the Museum's great treasures is one of the largest collections of Iranian faience in the world - over 700 pieces from the 15th to 18th centuries. These include unique inscribed items, such as that with an important Persian inscription ‘…This dish was finished in Mashrad in the year 878' [by the Muslim calendar]. Iranian textiles include famous pile carpets of the early 17th to 19th centuries, and examples of velvet and silk.
Persian painting is covered by more than 400 items from the 15th to 19th centuries covering all stages in the development of miniature painting from the 15th to 17th centuries, and amongst them particular attention should be paid to the magnificent illustrations to a 1431 Herat copy of Nizami's Khamse. Typical of miniature painting of the late 16th and early 17th centuries are the illustrations of the Isfahan School of Riza-i Abbasi.
In the 17th to 19th centuries, alongside the traditional manner of painting sprang up a new trend in Iranian art, oil painting on canvas, which employs many of the traditional canons but on a larger scale. The Museum has fifteen 19th-century canvases, including formal portraits of rulers, women, and two unique battle paintings.
Aquamanile in the Form of a Cow with its Calf
Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Abu'l-Qasim an-naqqash
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