Description & Technical information

This hanging fritware ornament of oval form is decorated with underglaze paint over a white slip. A seraph (member of the highest order of angels) rendered in turquoise, yellow and manganese purple features three times around the centre of the ornament, while six Jerusalem crosses fill the interstices. There are pierced openings on either end of the ornament. 
Hanging ornaments of this shape and decorative repertoire were produced in Kütahya, Western Turkey by Armenian potters. Their distinctive egg-like shape serves no obvious function, however it is notable that examples of decorated eggs have appeared in the Middle East from as far back as the Middle Bronze Age, and were likely seen as symbols of fertility. These 18th century Kütahya versions can be found hanging in a number of churches, most notably the Armenian Cathedral of St James in Jerusalem. As suggested by Carswell (p. 16), these ornaments may have been produced specifically for pilgrims travelling to Jerusalem as votive offerings, as some examples bear inscriptions stating the name of the pilgrim and destination. For further examples, see Akalın and Bilgi, p. 54, and Aspects of Armenian Art, pp. 68-73.

Date:  18th century
Period:  1600-1750, 1750-1850, 18th century
Origin:  Turkey
Medium: Fritware, Underglaze paint
Dimensions: 8.5 cm (3³/₈ inches)
Provenance: Private UK Collection

Literature: Akalın, Ş. and Bilgi, H. Delights of Kütahya: Kütahya Tiles and Pottery in the Suna & İnan Kiraç Collection, Vehbi Koç Foundation, Istanbul, 1997.
Aspects of Armenian Art: The Kalfayan Collection, Museum of Byzantine Culture, Thessaloniki, Greece, 2010. 
Carswell, J. Kütahya Tiles and Pottery from the Armenian Cathedral of St. James, Jerusalem: A Historical Survey of the Kütahya Industry and a Catalogue of the Decorative Tiles, Vol II, Oxford University Press, 1972.

Categories: Oriental and Asian Art, Works of Art