Jar with a Woman and Geese

Unknownearly 16th century

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

It is hard to imagine that this ceramic jar, or albarello, was influenced by Islamic artistry, because the colors and scene painted on it are distinctly European. The jar depicts a woman in a peasant dress holding a distaff to spin wool, as she walks in a grassy field with several geese that appear to be fighting. Although scholars are uncertain about the meaning of this image, it is based on well-established European traditions of narrative painting. This cylindrical structure and its white finish, however, reflect Islamic innovations. The albarello form was popular in the Islamic world and from there arrived in Europe where it also became widespread. Aside from the jar's shape, its brilliant painting was made possible by the use of tin-based glazes, invented in the Middle East to mimic the prized look of Chinese porcelain. Tin glazes produce a smooth, white surface on which brightly colored pigments can be applied.

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  • Title: Jar with a Woman and Geese
  • Date Created: early 16th century
  • Location Created: Faenza, Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: w16.8 x h24.8 cm
  • Type: Jar
  • Rights: http://www.getty.edu/legal/copyright.html
  • External Link: http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artObjectDetails?artobj=1168
  • Medium: Tin-glazed earthenware
  • artist: Unknown
  • Terms of Use: http://www.getty.edu/legal/copyright.html
  • Subject: Peasants, Geese