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Bowl with Incised Lotus Flowers, second half 17th century or later, Iran. Stonepaste; incised under transparent glaze (Gombroon ware). H. 3 3/8 in. (8.6 cm) Diam. 7 7/8 in. (20 cm). Gift of William Reinhold Valentiner, 1911, 11.137.1 © 2000–2014 The Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Bottle with Incised Decoration, first half 18th century, Iran. Stonepaste; incised under transparent glaze (Gombroon ware). H. 14 in. (35.6 cm). Edward C. Moore Collection, Bequest of Edward C. Moore, 1891. 91.1.131 © 2000–2014 The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

This bottle along with a bowl (11.137.1) are part of a group of Iranian ceramics known as Gombroon ware, named after a trading post on the south coast of Iran. Ideally situated, the port was frequented by both the Dutch and English East India Companies and served as an entrepot for ceramics and other luxury goods into Europe. The style of Gombroon ceramics and their role in international trade reflect the significant artistic, cultural, and economic ties that existed between China, Iran, and Europe in the seventeenth century.
Like much of Iranian ceramic production from the ninth century onward, Gombroon wares sought to emulate Chinese ceramics, which were especially prized, not only for their aesthetic appeal but also for their unique technical qualities. Gombroon ware is characterized by incised lines that serve to emphasize the thinness of the walls — a characteristic of Chinese porcelain that Iranian craftsmen hoped to emulate. Since kaolin, the white clay used to create Chinese porcelain, was unavailable in the region, craftsmen used incisions to create a subtle play of translucency and opacity. The bottle is ornamented with scrolling cloud bands which cover the body, a decorative detail that is also of Chinese origin.