Hispano Moresque Lusterware Charger
Valencia, Spain. 16th Century
A large and impressive 16th century Renaissance period Hispano Moresque lusterware charger with a rich metallic copper oxide and cobalt luster over a cream colored slip. Unusual split design characterized by geometric patterns on one half and cobalt palmettes on the other. Verso with a concentric pinwheel motif encircled by multiple ring borders and whimsical foliate designs. Valencia, Spain.
** See Sotheby's Arts of the Islamic World sale, October 7, 2015 for similar example.
Dimensions: 15.75 inches diameter.
Condition: multiple period repairs, rim chip, surface abrasions, glaze loss.
Hispano Moresque' pottery is a unique form of high fired copper oxide lusterware that originated in the early Gothic period with similar iiconography, stylized patterns and pseudo-Kufic script drawn from the illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages. When the Moors conquered Spain in 711 AD they introduced new glazing, throwing and firing techniques to Medieval Christian communities and for the next several hundred years Christian and Morisco potters would migrate to the three major Hispano Moresque production centers, Andalusia, Catalonia and Valencia to perfect their craft. Under the watchful eye of the guilds, quality production continued and the export market flourished but that good fortune came to an 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. Morisco labor was the backbone of the Spanish infrastructure and when that labor force was withdrawn, it precipitated a labor vacuum followed by crippling economic decay. The loss of so many Morisco potters had a direct impact on the three primary Hispano Moresque production centers and the surrounding communities. While some 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.
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