© Museum Associates/LACMA

This item has been added to the Database within the Explore Islamic Art Collections project. Information is available in: English, Arabic.

Name of Object:



Los Angeles, United States of America

Holding Museum:

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

About Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles

Date of Object:

Hegira 9th century / AD 15th century

Museum Inventory Number:


Material(s) / Technique(s):

Fritware, glazed, cut to shape, and assembled as mosaic


59.7 x 3.8cm

Period / Dynasty:



Iran or Central Asia


This tile belongs to the period of Timurid rule in Iran and Central Asia (Hegira 771-913/1370–1507 AD). The last great dynasty to emerge from the Central Asian steppe, the Timurids sponsored buildings that were often constructed on an enormous scale and sheathed in an elaborate decorative skin of brilliant glazed tile. Since the primary structural material was dun-colored baked brick, glazed tiles provided colorful embellishment. Elements of the floral design of this tile were cut from glazed tiles of different colors and assembled as a mosaic; it was set in place on the exterior of a building, where it joined others as part of a larger, more complicated design. Indeed, there are several nearly identical or related tiles in other museum collections in Berlin (MIA), Chicago (AIC), and Paris (MdL).

How date and origin were established:

The decoration, color scheme and technique closely relate to tiles still in situ in Timurid buildings, as for example, the mosque and madrassa complex of Gawhar Shad, Herat, Hegira 820-841/ AD 1417-38.

How Object was obtained:

Formerly in a 19th-century style wood frame, suggesting it had left its place of origin by then. Collection of C. Edward Wells (d. late 20th century), Connecticut, until 1977 (sale, Sotheby Parke-Bernet, New York, February 1977, sale 3948, lot 72, sold to); Collection of Maan Z. Madina (1926-2013), New York, until 2002 (sold to); LACMA, The Madina Collection of Islamic Art, gift of Camilla Chandler Frost.

How provenance was established:

The technique of tile mosaic, a form of architectural decoration in which pieces of glazed ceramic of different shapes and sizes are assembled to generate a multicolored revetment, is especially associated with Iranian lands.

Selected bibliography:

Komaroff, Linda, Islamic Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles: Museum Associates, 2005: 35.
Komaroff, Linda, Lo Terrenal y lo Divino: Arte Islámico siglos VII al XIX Colección del Museo de Arte del Condado de Los Ángeles, Santiago: Centro Cultural La Moneda, 2015: 96, 210, 217.
Komaroff, Linda, Beauty and Identity: Islamic Art from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2016: 166-167, cat. no. 84.
Komaroff, Linda, Collecting Islamic Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art: A Curatorial Perspective, Los Angeles: Art Catalogues; LACMA, 2017: 32-33.

Citation of this web page:

LACMA Staff "Tile" in Explore Islamic Art Collections. Museum With No Frontiers, 2024. https://islamicart.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=object;EPM;us;Mus21;37;en

Prepared by: LACMA Staff

MWNF Working Number: US1 37


 Artistic Introduction

Islamic Dynasties / Period


On display in

MWNF Galleries

Ceramics Mosaics


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