Luster Tile with “In the Name of God, the Compassionate”

Luster Tile with “In the Name of God, the Compassionate”

about 1260-1280
Kashan, Iran
Molded ceramic with blue and luster pigments over a white glaze
Accession Number
Credit Line
Museum Exchange

Frieze Tile, 1200s–1300s. Ilkhanid dynasty (1256–1335), Kashan, Iran.
Fritware with lustre and glaze; 21 1/2 x 18 7/8i x 4 in. Denver Art Museum: Museum exchange, 1958

height: 21 1/2 in, 54.61 cm; width: 18 7/8 in, 47.9425 cm; depth: 4 in, 10.1600 cm
Calligraphy reads "In the Name of God, the Compassionate."
Arts of Asia
Arts of Asia
This object is currently on view

Frieze Tile
1200s–1300s, Ilkhanid dynasty (1256–1335)
Kashan, Iran
Fritware with lustre
Museum exchange

Ceramics are a hallmark of Islamic art, widely used in utilitarian wares, architecture, and ornamentation. An important innovation was the manufacture of lustreware, where a metallic finish was applied over the ceramic body and other glazes to produce an iridescent or reflective appearance. In architectural applications, lustreware was used in the mihrab, or prayer niche; for wall tiles; and on frieze tiles like this, which displayed scenes or inscriptions across adjoining tiles. This tile likely once adorned the walls of a mosque. From right to left, the inscription reads: In the name of Allah, (the Compassionate). This phrase begins all but one of the chapters in the Qur’an, and is the opening line of a longer inscription. Now removed from its original location, the tile is surrounded by an incised brass frame of unknown origin.