Name of Object:



Madrid, Spain

Holding Museum:

National Archaeological Museum

 About National Archaeological Museum, Madrid

Date of Object:

Second half of the 15th century

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Clay, kaolin; firing, glazing, gold highlights.


Height 9 cm, diameter 45 cm, diameter of base 14.5 cm

Period / Dynasty:



Manises or Paterna, Valencia, Spain.


Ceramics with metallic highlights were exceptionally successful in the late Middle Ages, and were sought after by the finest European courts. The coats of arms of royalty and nobility, in particular Italians such as the Tedaldi or Nasi families, are commonly depicted. These ceramics, so colourful and elegant, are reminiscent of Gothic painting. The manufacturing and decorating processes were complex, as the pieces required several firings to obtain the different colours. This dish was turned on a potter's wheel. Its surface is covered with a white or cream tin glaze. The sides are concave and the brim slightly inclined. The topside is decorated in gold and deep blue. The central, golden coat of arms, inscribed in a toothed blue border, shows an eagle with outstretched wings. It is possible that it belonged to the Despujols family, and it is repeated in other pieces. The coat of arms is surrounded by a thin strip of fringes and spirals and tiny fern leaves. Near the edge, there is a wide band with large gilt pinecones in reserve, alternating with large deep-blue flowers. The remaining spaces are filled with arabesque leaves. On the underside there is another eagle in the same position as the first, covering the entire area, and fern leaves in the empty spaces. The heraldic coats of arms, as well as telling us about the tastes of high society, are useful for determining when the pieces were manufactured, as they include data on family history.

View Short Description

Dish decorated in a manner typical of AH 9th-/ AD 15th-century Mudéjar ceramics, with Nasrid-style motifs such as the gold and blue motifs on the front combined with the coat-of-arms of the family that commissioned the piece. In this case, an eagle appears on both sides of the dish.

How date and origin were established:

From its style and from comparison with other similar dishes. In this case, the coat of arms that decorates it serves as a historical reference.

How Object was obtained:

The piece was purchased for the National Archaeological Museum from Vicente Juan y Amat on 27 June 1872.

How provenance was established:

From its formal and stylistic characteristics, from the archaeological digs that have been carried out and from the extensive documentation that is available.

Selected bibliography:

Camps Cazorla, E., Catálogo Sumario del Museo Arqueológico Nacional. Cerámica Española (Nuevas Instalaciones), Madrid, 1936, p.31, plate III.
Franco Mata, á., Balmaseda Muncharaz, L., Arias Sánchez, I. and Papí Rodes, C., “La Documentación de las Cerámicas Valencianas Medievales en el Museo Arqueológico Nacional”, in La Cerámica de Paterna. Reflejos del Mediterráneo, Exhibition catalogue, Valencia, 2002, pp.106–18.

Citation of this web page:

Ángela Franco "Dish" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2020.;ISL;es;Mus01;48;en

Prepared by: Ángela Franco
Copyedited by: Rosalía Aller
Translation by: Laurence Nunny
Translation copyedited by: Monica Allen

MWNF Working Number: SP 71