Armenian dating system
By combining the V&A’s collection, which comprises an interesting variety of shapes and colourful decorations, with an earlier study of blue and white examples of jugs and dishes from other museums, a considerable archive of objects is created on which we can comment.The most ubiquitous design on these ceramics is of a cone shape; this is used repeatedly on dishes and bowls.This infusion of new blood and ideas must also have given Kütahya potters a greater awareness of the world beyond the limits of the Ottoman Empire.If this is the case then the 'sudden' apparition of new patterns such as the cone, on blue and white Kütahya ceramics would make sense.In this particular case, with the Islamic date equivalent of 1718 painted on the front rim, we have a date for the use of the blue and white flower spray pattern on its back. The polychrome dish in the Safavid group, which depicts the figure of the Archangel Michael receiving the soul of the dead man, is one of a series given to the Armenian cathedral of Saint James in Jerusalem by Vartabed Abraham in 1168-1718 according to the inscription (fig. The naïve style of painting appears to relate to the religious narratives on tiles covering some of the walls of the said cathedral.
Despite earlier attempts to explain the links between blue and white Kütahya pieces and Chinese Kangxi export wares, the polychrome production in the first half of the 18th century with its striking motifs, continue to baffle specialists.Yet in the light of the Armenian trade network across Eurasia, it is possible to discover other influences besides those of far-eastern ceramics.Indian painted cottons, known as chintzes, had conquered the Eurasian world of fashion and by now were part of a worldwide trade.Although 18th-century Kütahya ceramics have gradually begun to find their place in collections both in Turkey and the Gulf, little scholarly attention has been given to their unique designs and shapes.There are over seventy pieces in the Victoria & Albert Museum’s collections, offering the possibility of studying the ceramic production of this relatively small Anatolian town on the Anatolian plateau, some hundred kilometres south-east of Bursa and Iznik.
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Whether pairs of leaves, wings, wishbones or pincers, it is hard to understand such a repeat pattern, which may explain its short life in the Kütahya pattern book.