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profile: Vase


Historical period(s)
Nasrid period, late 14th-early 15th century
Earthenware painted over glaze
77.2 x 68.2 cm
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
Mariano Fortuny, the famed textile and costume designer, bought the Freer Vase from a tavern in Granada. The bronze stand, inspired by the Fountain of the Lions at the Alhambra, was designed by Fortuny. The vase is missing its collar, neck, winglike handles, and lustered surface, but is a close cousin to other surviving Alhambra vases, including the vase known as the Alhambra Vase, now in the Museo de la Alhambra in Granada. Its present state only hints at its former appearance, as it must have been among the most magnificent of all of the late Alhambra vases. Its pleasing proportions are accentuated by the placement of an inscription band at its widest point; the contents of the inscription are unique among these vases. This inscription is autonomous, in that, it makes the vase speak in the first person. Like the inscription on the pyxis and other inscriptions that survive in stucco at the Alhambra palace, this one asks the viewer to contemplate the beauty of the object and its setting.

Inscriptions: Deer: Good health; Roundels: Good health. Central band: O thou onlooker who art adorned with the splendor of the dwelling / Look at my shape today and contemplate: thou wilt see my excellence / For I appear to be made of silver and my clothing from blossoms / My happiness lies in the hands of he who is my owner, underneath the canopy.

Mariano Fortuny (1838-1874), Spain [1]

To 1903
Charles Davis, London, to 1903 [2]

From 1903 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Charles Davis in 1903 [3]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [4]


[1] See Curatorial Remark 9, R.E., 1952, in the object record.

[2] See Original Pottery List, L. 1245, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[3] See note 1.

[4] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Former owner
Mariano Fortuny (1838 - 1874)
C.L. Freer source: Charles Davis
On View Location
Currently not on view
Ceramic, Vessel
earthenware, Nasrid period (1230 - 1492), Spain
Collection(s) Area
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resource(s)
The Story of the Beautiful, Google Cultural Institute

Rights Statement
Copyright with museum

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