A large and impressive 16th century Hispano Moresque lusterware charger with a rearing horse surrounded by foliate motifs and pseudo-Kufic script in pale copper luster over a cream colored slip. These unique patterns originated in Gothic art with similar border designs represented in the illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages and Renaissance periods. The richly colored metallic luster is achieved by applying the paint as an overglaze and then firing under high temperature a second time. This charger is of a classic form with footed base, gently sloping walls and multiple ring borders on verso. Valencia, circa 1600 - 1650.
For those unfamiliar, 'Hispano Moresque' lusterware is a unique form of Spanish pottery that took root during the late Middle Ages and saw it's pinnacle of popularity during the Renaissance period. When the Moors conquered Spain in 711 AD they introduced new glazing, throwing and firing techniques to Medieval Christian societies. For the next several hundred years both Christian and Morisco potters would migrate to the three major Hispano Moresque production centers, Andalusia, Catalonia and Valencia, and under the watchful eye of the guilds, quality production continued and the export market flourished. But that good fortune came to a rather abrupt halt when King Phillip III decreed the expulsion of the Moriscos. In Valencia alone nearly one third of the population was lost to the expulsion and two important things ensued. First, economic instability. Morisco labor was the backbone of the Spanish infrastructure and when that labor force was withdrawn, it precipitated a labor vacuum followed by crippling economic decay. Second, and perhaps of greater consequence to Hispano Moresque production, the loss of so many Morisco potters had a direct impact on the three primary Hispano Moresque production centers and their surrounding communities. Although many working kilns continued production, the quality of their wares deteriorated quickly and the secret Islamic manufacturing techniques that had been practiced for centuries were ultimately lost to time.
Dimensions: 15.75 inches diameter
Condition: multiple period repairs, rim chips, surface abrasions, glaze loss.
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