Archive item - not for sale
Spanish Hispano-Moresque dish, early 16th century, probably Manises, Valencia, with gardooned central boss, the body covered in a creamy tin-glaze decorated in copper lustre and blue with swirling fern-scrolls and stylised vine leaves, the wide rim with slim raised leaves outlined in blue and further curling foliage, the reverse with lustred foliate scroll and concentric circles.
Spanish tin-glazed earthenware with lustre design originated in the Middle East, where in the 9th to 10th centuries the technique was developed to imitate the bright surface of Chinese porcelains. It was particularly popular in the Muslim world because the Hadiths (the record of the saying of the Prophet Muhammad) prohibited the use of vessels made from precious metals at mealtimes. Over time the technique spread, and became established in Spain after its conquest by Moorish armies in the 8th century. By the 14th century, Valencia had become one of the largest centres of production for Hispano-Moresque wares, in part owing to the natural resources available in Manises including a particular type of sand used for the glaze. The lustre effect is achieved by applying a tin glaze over a design traced in cobalt blue before the first firing, then brushing a pigment made from a metallic oxide on top before firing for a second time. Valencian Hispano-Moresque later entered a period of decline, in part due to the rise in popularity of Italian Maiolica and also to the expulsion of remaining Moriscos (converted Muslims) in 1609. The industry was re-established by Christian potters, but the former period of production continues to be regarded as the pinnacle of Valencian lustreware.