Tile with Rabbit Motif

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Architectural revetment tile with rabbit motif 14th century, Iran Glazed luster-painted ceramic Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, 1971.1.48

Tile with rabbit motif

A spotted rabbit hides among large flowering vegetation on this polygonal glazed tile. The animal turns around, ears perked, as if it has just heard a noise. As an architectural revetment, this tile was fitted into others and used to decorate the exterior surface of a building. In order to cover a building, tiles such as this one were mass-produced using a technique wherein wet clay is pressed into a plaster mold before being fired and glazed. Perhaps the tile that would have abutted this one bore a predatory animal such as a lion or dragon, poised to strike. While it is impossible to know the overall pictorial or narrative context of this tile, this lively scene painted in luster would have reflected light and brought pleasure to the building's viewer.

Bibliography: Hirx, Leona, and Meyers 2002; Masuya 2002; Porter 1995, 32–61, figs. 17 and 21; and Watson 1985, 17.

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