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MANOIR:NOUN MA·NOIR \MAˈNWÄR\: (FRENCH) A LARGE MANOR HOUSE IN THE COUNTRYSIDE.

Blue & White: Influences from Asian, European and Islamic Art


Because we are great lovers of Blue & White ceramics, today we're exploring Iranian ceramics in the Safavid period, which were heavily influenced by Chinese blue and white porcelain. In many instances, the Iranians made direct copies. Below is a photo I took at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London - the ceramics are all from Iran (c. 1600-1700) except the middle one - from Jingdezhen China.

Indeed, our Chinoiserie Ginger Jar ginger jars (pictured below) are handcrafted in Jingdezhen, Jiangxi, China, known as the “Porcelain Capital” because it has been producing quality pottery for over 1700 years. 

While Iranian potters were making ceramics in the style of Chinese blue-and-white porcelain, Chinese porcelain during this period was also being imported in great quantities, first by the Portuguese and then, from about 1620 by the Dutch and the British. We can see the influence of the blue and white Chinese porcelain in painted pictorial tiles like the one pictured below from about 1720, also in the V&A museum in London. 

Some Iranian wares are close imitatons of Chinese originals, with Iranian potters even copying the Chinese maker's marks that appear on the base. Others were  inspired by Chinese pottery, but have a shape or decoration that is typically Iranian. The creation of Persian tiles began about 1200 A.D. After conquering Timur, the people of Persia learned from Chinese pottery that many colors could be added to one tile. By 1500 A.D., the colors of Chinese pottery became an integral part of Persian tilemaking and unique to the region. Persian tile decorating reached its zenith in the 18th and 19th centuries.  Below is a photo I took on my travels to Iran, an exquisite example from a mosque in Isfahan.

Manoir prides itself on global influences, but it's really amazing to see over time how some of the classic decor that we love has originated, been borrowed and adapted by different cultures throughout time. Blue and white ceramics are a perfect example.


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