Jar with Foliate Decoration

Unknownmid-15th century

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

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.

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  • Title: Jar with Foliate Decoration
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: mid-15th century
  • Location Created: Montelupo, Italy
  • Physical Dimensions: 18.6 x 10.5 x 11.7 cm (7 5/16 x 4 1/8 x 4 5/8 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Tin-glazed earthenware
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Object Type: Drug jar
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 84.DE.100
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Sculpture & Decorative Arts
  • Culture: Italian
  • Classification: Decorative Arts