The Dish with Lotus Pattern created in the 16th century in Iran demonstrates how Chinese blue and white style porcelain was adapted to reflect the desires and tastes of consumers at the time through the exhibition of Islamic motifs.It is made from stonepaste, a technical innovation that allowed for almost perfect replication of Chinese porcelain. It is believed that while potters in Bagdad were adding glass fragments to clay bodies as early as the 8th century. It was during the 10th century in Egypt that that quartz and fritz were incorporated into clay bodies. It wasn’t until midway through the 11th century in Iraq and Iran that the ratio of clay was greatly reduced and more quartz added that true stonepaste or fritware was created. The composition of stonepaste is about 75% quartz, 15% frit with lead and lime and roughly 10% clay (Tite). Once fired, frit acted as a binding agent between all other elements (Makariou). The resulting product looks and feels very similar to porcelain once fired; both have a light body color and are very hard allowing for thin-walled ceramic goods (Denny). The only noticeable difference between the two is that stonepaste tends to have a slight yellow tint that was normally hidden with a white coat of slip before the final design was added. The intensity of the blue glaze also hides any yellow tones in the clay body.
Formally the geometrical lotus motif is perfectly symmetric around the central lotus flower. The large central flower is the darkest area on the dish and is delicately framed by a spiraling vine that is visually similar to calligraphy and would never appear on Chinese porcelain (Avery,). The eight-point star or two overlapping squares that surround the central lotus and vine is called a “khatim” and is a seal of the prophets (Rosser-Owen). In Chinese culture the eight-pointed star is used to refer to the vastness of the universe (Chinese Symbols). The next section of the dish features smaller lotuses each surrounded by a spiraling vine. Between each lotus there is a diamond with a vegetal design in the interior. This section of the plate containers miniaturized design elements from the central section of the plate. Along the outer edge is an abstract spiral and cloud design that mimics the form of the foliaged edge. The Dish with Lotus Pattern can be viewed as two steps away from direct imitations of Chinese blue and white porcelain because the style of the decorations are in the Islamic tradition of decorative arts.