Yves Porter will be coming to speak at the Ravi and Seran Trehan Lectures in Islamic Art and Material Culture on Tuesday, October 23, 2012. His talk is entitled “Potters of Kâshân (Late 12th-Early 14th c.).”

Yves Porter is Professor of Islamic Art at Université d’Aix-Marseille in France. He holds a PhD in Iranian Studies and an Habilitation à diriger des Recherches(HdR) in Islamic Art Studies. Porter has published extensively on Persian technical texts, architecture, painting and ceramics, and Indian Sultanate architecture. His recent book-length publications include Le prince, l’artiste et l’alchimiste: La céramique dans le monde iranien, Xe-XVIIe siècle (Paris: Hermann, 2011); The Glory of the Sultans: Islamic Architecture in India (Paris: Flammarion, 2009); and Les Iraniens: Histoire d’un peuple (Paris: Armand Colin, 2006).

During the course of the twelfth century, an important community of potters emerged in the city of Kâshân (Central Iran). In his talk, Porter will discuss the emergence of this community, the methods of ceramic production that were utilized, and the materials that were at the disposal of these potters. Most, if not all, of the craftsmen in the community belonged to the Shiite faith; some of the potters came from leading Sayyid families, from the descendants of Imâm ‘Ali. The names of these craftsmen have been identified primarily from inscriptions on the objects that they created. Similarly, the dates inscribed on bowls and tiles have allowed for a chronological understanding of the objects. Established networks, though poorly documented, provided the community with the necessary materials and know-how to create a continuous stream of new products. Additionally, these networks (or perhaps others) facilitated the distribution of Kâshâni ceramics to an extraordinarily large area that spanned from the lands of Kenya, Yemen, and the Persian Gulf to the Indus Valley and Central Asia. The potters of Kâshân contributed to the decoration of great Shiite shrines from Qum to Mashhad, a feat that bestowed a particular prestige on the community of craftsmen. As part of his talk, Porter will address the important issues of patronage and power in connection with the Kâshâni potters.

Light refreshments will be served at 5:45 pm. The presentation will begin at 6:00 pm.

RSVP is required. Please click on the registration link at the bottom of this page or contact academicevents@bgc.bard.edu.

PLEASE NOTE that our Lecture Hall can only accommodate a limited number of people, so please come early if you would like to have a seat in the main room. We also have overflow seating available; all registrants who arrive late will be seated in the overflow area.