Name of Object:



London, England, United Kingdom

Holding Museum:

Victoria and Albert Museum

About Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Date of Object:

Around hegira 1031–56 / AD 1625–50

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Painted and glazed ceramic.


Height 4.9 cm, diameter 31.2 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Iznik, Turkey.


A deep dish with an underglaze-painted design showing a European-style sailing ship at sea, its sails billowing as it rides the cresting waves. Three tadpole-like fish are seen swimming below. In the rim of the dish, groups of simply drawn spirals, ultimately descended from the Chinese 'wave-and-rock' border pattern, reflect the oceanic theme. This dish is one of a number of similar pieces depicting sailing ships of either European or North African build. They were produced around the second quarter of the 17th century, when the Iznik ceramic industry had declined from its heyday of 50 or so years previous. Yet this plate retains considerable charm, especially the jaunty air the artist has given the ship.

View Short Description

A deep dish with a representation of a ship at sea. Similar depictions of European and North African ships appear on a number of Iznik wares from the second quarter of the AH 11th / AD 17th century. Although the industry was in economic and artistic decline, examples like this retain a considerable charm.

How date and origin were established:

Comparison with similar pieces of the same period.

How Object was obtained:

Purchased by the Museum in 1867.

How provenance was established:

Iznik was the centre of quality ceramic production in this period.

Selected bibliography:

Atasoy, N., and Raby, J., Iznik: The Pottery of Ottoman Turkey, Istanbul/London, 1989, p.280.

Lane, A., Later Islamic Pottery: Persia, Syria, Egypt, Turkey, London, 1957, pp.57–8.

Citation of this web page:

Barry Wood "Plate" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2020.;ISL;uk;Mus02;30;en

Prepared by: Barry WoodBarry Wood

Barry Wood is Curator (Islamic Gallery Project) in the Asian Department of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He studied history of art at Johns Hopkins University and history of Islamic art and architecture at Harvard University, from where he obtained his Ph.D. in 2002. He has taught at Harvard, Eastern Mediterranean University, the School of Oriental and African Studies, and the Courtauld Institute of Art. He has also worked at the Harvard University Art Museums and the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. He has published on topics ranging from Persian manuscripts to the history of exhibitions.

Copyedited by: Mandi GomezMandi Gomez

Amanda Gomez is a freelance copy-editor and proofreader working in London. She studied Art History and Literature at Essex University (1986–89) and received her MA (Area Studies Africa: Art, Literature, African Thought) from SOAS in 1990. She worked as an editorial assistant for the independent publisher Bellew Publishing (1991–94) and studied at Bookhouse and the London College of Printing on day release. She was publications officer at the Museum of London until 2000 and then took a role at Art Books International, where she worked on projects for independent publishers and arts institutions that included MWNF’s English-language editions of the books series Islamic Art in the Mediterranean. She was part of the editorial team for further MWNF iterations: Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean Virtual Museum and the illustrated volume Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean.

True to its ethos of connecting people through the arts, MWNF has provided Amanda with valuable opportunities for discovery and learning, increased her editorial experience, and connected her with publishers and institutions all over the world. More recently, the projects she has worked on include MWNF’s Sharing History Virtual Museum and Exhibition series, Vitra Design Museum’s Victor Papanek and Objects of Desire, and Haus der Kulturen der Welt’s online publication 2 or 3 Tigers and its volume Race, Nation, Class.

MWNF Working Number: UK2 35


 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

Islamic Dynasties / Period


On display in

Discover Islamic Art Exhibition(s)

The Ottomans | Exporting Luxury

MWNF Galleries


See also

Virtual Visit Exhibition Trail

EARLY OTTOMAN ART - Legacy of the Emirates


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