Iran is home to one of the world’s oldest continuous major civilisations, with historical and urban settlements dating back to 7000 BC. One of the main contributions of Persian arts is its extremely fine pottery. Dating from the Neolithic Age, Persian pottery has varied greatly over the changing history of the region. Funerary pottery of the Susa period (5000 BCE.) commonly decorated with characteristic Ibex motifs form a significant part of our understanding of this culture. The Islamic prohibition on using vessels made of precious metal at the table, which had been usual for pre-Islamic elites of the earlier Persian empires, meant that ceramic arts flourished. During the early Islamic period epigraphic pottery developed with elegant black script on a white ground. Later periods saw a significant Chinese influence, appropriating chi cloud motifs and dragons as well as establishing their own relationship with blue as a predominant colour. Native figurative developments inspired by Persian painting also occurred creating a lively and sophisticated vision.

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