Dr. Joseph Chompret, born 1869 (Paris, France) [sold, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, December 15, 1976, lot 19, to Rainer Zietz Limited.]
1976 - 1984
Rainer Zietz Limited, sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1984.
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Currently on view at: Getty Center, Museum North Pavilion, Gallery N105
Jar with a Kufic Pattern
Montelupo, Italy (Place Created)
18.1 × 9.5 × 13 cm (7 1/8 × 3 3/4 × 5 1/8 in.)
The cylindrical shape, narrow neck and waist, and tapering foot of this piece are typical characteristics of the albarello (drug jar). The small handle is an unusual addition and its function has yet to be explained. It may have been used to suspend the piece for storage or possibly to tie together a group of similar drug jars on a shelf.
The decoration on this drug jar, including Chinese scrolling patterns, Islamic knotwork and hatched fields, and Kufic script, shows an interesting mixture of Near and Far Eastern influences. Kufic calligraphy, an angular form of the Arabic alphabet, was well known in Italy, especially Tuscany, thanks to the spread of small and easily portable items decorated with the script, such as fabrics, leatherwork, and ceramics. This Kufic script decoration, although fancified and illegible, added an exotic decorative element to the design, which Italian consumers would have appreciated without being able to read.