( Originally Published Early 1900's )
THE ALTMAN COLLECTION includes a small number of objects of varying character not already referred to and exhibited mostly in GALLERY 5. Beginning with the WEST WALL of this room, the four large plates hung above the cabinet, No. 99, are of interest as exemplifying three almost contemporary but widely different forms of faience or majolica. The uppermost plate, No. 126, is Syrian, from Damascus, made in the sixteenth century; the two central dishes, 127 and 128, are Hispano Moresque, dating respectively from the end and middle of the fifteenth century the one on the right being the earlier; while the plate hung at the bottom, No. 129, is Italian, decorated at Urbino with grotesques in the manner of Raphael, also in the sixteenth century. On the opposite side of the room, placed on the table, No. 105, is a case containing four more pieces of faience, all Oriental, of which the plate and globe, Nos. 131 and 133, are Damascus pottery of the sixteenth century. A globe of this type was used as an ornament on the cluster of cords whereby such a mosque lamp as No. 130 was suspended in the sanctuary. This lamp, however, is not of the same ware, scale, or importance as the ball, which when its period and place of manufacture are borne in mind is unusual among ware of the kind both for its size and its fineness of ornament. The lamp is of that variety of pottery often called Rhodian because Rhodes was the chief market for the gaily decorated faience manufactured in the coast cities in the west of Asia Minor, where the industry throve during the sixteenth century, and, to a lesser degree, for many years after-ward. The plate, No. 132, of the same period as the other pieces of ceramics in this case, is Persian, and was made at Koubatcha in the northeastern part of the country, at factories where the early tradition of using human figures as ornamentation for plates and other vessels had been revived with success.
On the table, No. 106, on the other side of the central door is a second case which holds four pieces of iridescent classical glass dating from the beginning of the Roman period. The fifth object in this case is a small mosque lamp in glazed pottery unearthed at Rakka, a Mesopotamian city where such ware was made about the twelfth century of our era.
At the left of the table is a Roman terracotta vase, No. 139, dating from the third to the fourth century B. C.
In the glass doors leading out of GALLERY 4 are some examples of Swiss stained glass, four in all, which bear dates of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. At this time much of the color in stained glass was applied in the form of enamels rather than contained in the glass itself, and the Swiss makers were everywhere famed for their mastery of the method, which they usually employed in such small scale heraldic panels as the four unusually good examples in the Altman Collection.