Islamic potters often showed great skill in matching the designs they used to the shapes of vessels. Here, three fish seem to frolic between gently swaying vines, following the rounded form of the plate. Painted in black, the scene contrasts beautifully under the intense turquoise blue under-glaze of the water.
Black painted ceramics with blue under-glaze are traditionally attributed to the site of Raqqa which has provided a large number of related ceramics. This northern Syrian caravan city was a major production center for terracotta vessels under the Ayyubids, until being conquered by the Mongols in 1259. Remains of pottery firing debris have been discovered, proving, in a somewhat unique way, the activity which was practiced there.
Condition: Complete and in very good condition overall. A superb example.
Dimensions: Height: 1 1/2 inches (3.8 cm), Diameter: 8 3/4 inches 22.2 cm)
Provenance: The Hauge Collection of Ancient & Iranian Art, assembled between 1962 and 1966. Foreign service brothers, Victor and Osborne Hauge, together with their wives Takako and Gratia, assembled their collection of Persian, Japanese, Chinese, and Southeast Asian works of fine and folk art while stationed overseas with the US government after WWII. In consultation with academics and dealers, the Hauges assembled over two decades of what former Freer Gallery of Art director Harold Stern described in 1957 as "without doubt one of the finest private collections in the world". Victor and Takako published Folk Traditions in Japanese Art to coincide with a traveling exhibition held from 1978 at the Cleveland Museum of Art; Japan House Gallery, New York; and Asian Art Museum, San Francisco. Much of their collection was donated to the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian Institute culminating in an exhibition and published catalogue in 2000. The balance of the collection, including this object, was inherited by descent in 2016.