Cuenco con decoración figurada (moderno)

Nº Inventario: CFC14
Descripción: Pasta de frita (aparentemente), pintada en colores de esmalte sobre un vidriado turquesa
Dimensiones: Height: 9.2 cm; diameter: 18.7 cm; height of foot ring height: 1.9 cm; diameter of base: 8.2 cm.
Observaciones: Decoración:
A black band with pseudo-kufic inscription and arabesque design in white runs under the bowl’s green rim. Its interior is painted with three figures mounted on a single humped camel, evidently meant to depict the classic narrative of Bahram Gur hunting with his lute-playing slave girl Azada as recounted in the Shahnama and other Persian texts. (See Comments below.) Bahram Gur sits astride the camel’s mid-section, with his left arm stretched back as if pulling on a bow. Azada holds a lute or harp-like instrument and appears in back of Bahram Gur, but does not actually seem to be seated on the camel. Likewise, the figure in front of Bahram Gur seems to be behind the camel, as if standing, and hanging onto Bahram Gur. What looks like the camel’s hump may actually be Bahram Gur’s raised leg as in other, authentic examples of the same scene. The black and white saddle blanket also may be masking parts of Bahram Gur and Azada’s bodies. Their mount is at least very camel-like with a saddle blanket adorned with tassels, hairy upper legs and a supercilious expression. The small deer or gazelle scratching its ear in
front of the camel fits with the standard iconography for the scene, although it too is probably over-painted. There is a bird immediately behind the camel, which may be partly original. Four large knotted and scroll-like motifs flank the central figural group. There is a large medallion and two smaller finial-like devices overhead and two red rosettes and a split-palmette motif beneath the camel’s feet. An inscription in Persian, not yet deciphered and possibly illegible, encircles the bowl’s exterior.
One day the young Persian prince Bahram Gur went hunting on a camel with his favorite slave girl Azada riding behind and carrying her lute. They soon came upon a pair of gazelles and Azada challenged Bahram to change the buck into a doe (by shooting off its antlers), the doe into a buck (by shooting arrows into its head), and to pin together the deer’s ear, ear and foot (by first nicking its ear with a pebble and then, when it raised its hoof to scratch, firing another arrow through the head, ear and foot). Bahram Gur achieved all this and expected Azada to praise him, but instead the slave girl protested that such a feat could only be the work of the devil. Whereupon Bahram Gur threw her from the camel and trampled her to death. The story was frequently represented on medieval and later ceramic and metalwork objects, as well as in numerous illustrated manuscripts.
Estado: Preliminary inspection with a UV light (May 2012) and X-ray scanning (December 2013) reveals that the bowl is composed of a large number of separate pieces, which probably did not all belong together originally. The decoration has been greatly re-painted over the assembled pieces, doubtless to mask the bowl’s composite fabric.
  • Simpson 1985, pp. 133-43 discusses the representation of Bahram Gur and Azada on medieval objects, and pp. 144-45 lists known ceramic examples. Selected examples are reproduced; see especially figs. 5, 6, 9 and 10, which include various details found on the RABASF bowl, such as the gazelle scratching its ear, the bird and the over-head medallion.
  • Other examples are now known: (Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York, 86.227.11: this includes an additional figure standing behind the camel, as well as Azada trampled underfoot.) 
  • Brend and Melville 2010, cat. no. 16 (Private Collection, U.K.: this shows Azada both seated on the camel and lying under its feet, as well as two smaller figures, one seated and another running, overhead).
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