Lajvardina Tile with “Allah”
1300s, Ilkhanid dynasty (1256–1335)
Gift of Bj Averitt
Lajvardina ware ceramics are named for their resemblance to the dark blue stone lapis lazuli. The surface is often embellished with gold leaf or decorated with geometric patterns or delicate scroll work as seen on this tile. The inscription, highlighted in relief and separated from the background by ocher-colored outlines, reads Allah, the Arabic name for God. This kind of ceramic is associated with the Ilkhanid dynasty descendants of Mongol invaders of the thirteenth century. With its capital in northern Iran, the Ilkhanid Empire reached from modern-day Pakistan to Turkey. It brought a new organizational structure and creativity to the region, but was ultimately absorbed into, and helped to spread, Persian Islamic culture.