Jar with Foliate Decoration

Object Details


Jar with Foliate Decoration






Montelupo, Italy, Europe (Place created)


mid-15th century


Tin-glazed earthenware

Object Number:



18.6 × 10.5 × 11.7 cm (7 5/16 × 4 1/8 × 4 5/8 in.)

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The influence of Islamic design on European art forms can be seen in this albarello-an Italian ceramic jar used as a storage container, primarily for medicine. Some of the vessel's patterns mimic Islamic motifs, and even its shape and method of decoration originated in the Middle East. Decorating the jar involved a type of glaze that created a white surface on which the ocher and dark-green ornament would appear bright and clear.

This type of jar could be held easily because of its inward-curving sides, and the opening could be sealed with paper or parchment. The albarello shape was inspired by the use of bamboo segments as storage containers in the Far East. This ceramic shape became widespread in the Middle East and then in Europe. The albarello was commonly used as a drug jar in Spain and Italy during the Renaissance, in part because of strong interest in pharmacology and medicine at that time.

- 1983

Private Collection [sold, Sotheby's, London, November 22, 1983, lot 194, to Rainer Zietz Limited.]

1983 - 1984

Rainer Zietz Limited, sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1984.

The Arts of Fire: Islamic Influences on the Italian Renaissance (May 4 to September 5, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), May 4 to September 4, 2004