Tin–enamelled earthenware; Diam. 17 3/4 in. (45.1 cm)
The Cloisters Collection, 1956 (56.171.162)
With its warm colors, rich metallic surface so successfully imitating the patina of precious metals, and pleasant design combining Muslim and Christian motifs, Valencian lusterware was the most accomplished and sought-after glazed ware in Europe during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Innumerable members of royal and noble houses in Spain, France, and Italy commissioned lusterware for both table service and decoration and had it emblazoned with their coats of arms. The Muslim motifs that grace this example are typical of the dominant style of Valencian luster decoration during the latter part of the fourteenth century: bands of pseudo-kufic script circumscribe the Arabic tree of life and abstract palmette designs found at the center. Typical too are the strokes of cobalt blue glaze set against a background of creamy white with patterns of copper luster.