Iranian, Fritware pottery, with underglaze painting in blue, c.1700, 44.5 cm diameter.
A charming example of Safavid blue and white ware of about 1700–25, its seven quails decoratively dispersed within a meander border. It came with Gerald Reitlinger's gift to the Museum in 1978. The Islamic section of his great collection was as important as the Chinese and Japanese, and he was especially interested in the inter-relationship of Chinese and Near Eastern ceramics. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, pottery production in Iran concentrated on the copying of imported Chinese porcelains, and occasionally produced ware of such quality that it was mixed with the Chinese by unscrupulous traders for sale to unsuspecting Europeans. [Reitlinger Gift, EA1978.1783].