Historical Reference

The Alhambra Vase

The Alhambra Vase

From Pottery And Porcelain Of All Times

JBOC: Above an Alhambra Vase AKA Vase of the Gazelles. One of a small group attributed to the Nasrid period, late 14th-early 15th century, Grenada or Málaga, Spain. Earthenware painted over glaze.

The Vase of the Alhambra, so called because found under the pavement of that structure, is four feet three inches high —of pottery, white ground with ornaments in two shades of blue and in gold or copper lustre (111. 103). Its date of manufacture is supposed to be about 1320.

The discovery of this pottery as a manufacture of Spain is quite recent, and due to M. Riocreux, the coadjutor of Brongniart at Sevres. Large quantities of the ware, previously classed with Italian majolica, and found in Italy, are now placed in the Hispano-Moresque group. Mr. J. C. Robinson, of the South Kensington Museum, an able authority, considers those pieces to be of the earlier period which have decoration in the paler yellow lustre, with interfacings and other ornaments in manganese and blue—animals, coats of arms, etc.—those having the ornaments in the pale-yellow lustre only, without color, to be nearly of equal date, and also some of the darker copper lustre pieces with shields of arms: he places at a later period those with glaring copper lustre.
Pottery And Porcelain Of All Times And Nations With Tables Of Factory And Artists’ Marks For The Use Of Collectors By William C. Prime Ll.D. New York Harper & Brothers, Publishers Franklin Square Entered According To Act Of Congress, In The Year 1877, By Harper & Brothers, In The Office Of The Librarian Of Congress, At Washington.
"The principal monument of the period is the royal palace of Granada, begun in 1273, and finished during the I4th century, from which period most of its ornamentation dates. Two vases were discovered there, of which the existing one, known as the “Alhambra vase," is admittedly the most imposing product of Hispano-Moresque ceramic art extant. Its amphora-shaped body (4 ft. 5 in. high) is encircled by a band of Arabic inscription, above which are depicted gazelles reserved in cream and golden lustre upon a blue field; the rest of the body and the prominent handles are covered with compartments of arabesques and inscriptions in the same colors; and panels on the neck, divided by moldings and decorated with strap-work and arabesques. Vases similar in shape and technique, with ornament of Kufic characters and arabesques in horizontal rows, are to be found in the museums at St Petersburg, Palermo and Stockholm. As to the exact date of these, experts are not agreed. Though presenting all the characteristics of the 14th-century Hispano- Moresque ornament, it seems probable that they were produced at the same period as the large lustred wall-tile formerly in the Fortuny (now in the Osma) collection, an inscription upon which is by some held to refer to Yusuf III. of Granada (1400-1418), not to Yusuf I. (1333-1354)- Another remarkable example is a dish (Sarre collection, Berlin), which, it is claimed, bears upon its back, in Arabic, the word Malaga; it is ornamented with eight segmental compartments filled alternately with strap-work designs and arabesques in lustre. Malaga was reconquered by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1487, and after this its industry probably decayed, as it is not mentioned by Lucio Marineo in 1539 among the localities where ceramics then flourished"
The Encyclopedia Britannica Eleventh Edition 1910—1911. By The Chancellor, Masters And Scholar Of The University Of Cambridge

From Vase of the Alhambra by carolynlj
The Freer Alhambra Vase
late 14th-early 15th century

Nasrid period

Earthenware painted over glaze
H: 77.2 W: 68.2 cm

Gift of Charles Lang Freer, F1903.206a-b Freer and

Mariano Fortuny, the famed textile and costume designer, bought the Freer Vase from a tavern in Granada. The bronze stand, inspired by the Fountain of the Lions at the Alhambra, was designed by Fortuny. The vase is missing its collar, neck, winglike handles, and lustered surface, but is a close cousin to other surviving Alhambra vases, including the vase known as the Alhambra Vase, now in the Museo de la Alhambra in Granada. Its present state only hints at its former appearance, as it must have been among the most magnificent of all of the late Alhambra vases. Its pleasing proportions are accentuated by the placement of an inscription band at its widest point; the contents of the inscription are unique among these vases. This inscription is autonomous, in that, it makes the vase speak in the first person. Like the inscription on the pyxis and other inscriptions that survive in stucco at the Alhambra palace, this one asks the viewer to contemplate the beauty of the object and its setting.

Inscriptions: Deer: Good health; Roundels: Good health. Central band: O thou onlooker who art adorned with the splendor of the dwelling / Look at my shape today and contemplate: thou wilt see my excellence / For I appear to be made of silver and my clothing from blossoms / My happiness lies in the hands of he who is my owner, underneath the canopy.

The Hornos Vase in Museo Arqueológico Nacional

A vase in the manner of the Alhambra vases from Hornos Spain now in the collection of The National Archaeological Museum of Spain (Museo Arqueológico Nacional) in Madrid Spain.

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zaqarbal/2057268819/

Hornos is a village 108 kilometers south by southeast of Alhambra.

The Alhambra Vase in the National Museum of Fine Arts in Stockholm, Sweden

There is a rather atypical example of a Alhambra Vase with a wonderful provenance in the National Museum of Fine Arts in Stockholm, Sweden. The vase, Museum Inventory Number: NMK 47 Dimensions: Height c. 119 cm first was mentioned in the 16th century:

"When it was described for the first time in the 16th century by pilgrims as a relic in a church in Cyprus, the vase was believed to be one of the jars from the Marriage at Canaan when Christ transformed water into wine. In 1580 the vase came as booty in the possession of the Ottoman sultan. Some time later, a German ambassador at the Sublime Porte succeeded in buying the Christian relic and the vase passed into the treasury of the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolph II (1552–1612). When the Swedish army conquered Prague in 1648, it was taken to Sweden and became part of the treasures of the royal family. In the first half of the 18th century the Swedish architect C. Härleman restored the missing handle by designing a dragon. He also added the bronze wreath, covering much of the bold naskhi inscription on the shoulder, which cannot be read."