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Marbled ceramic dish

Transcultural Earth: Mimetic Earthenware and Artisanal Knowledge

Thu November 25, 2021 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Presenting Programs Sponsor
The Samuel H. Kress Foundation

Free online program

Dr. Marta Amjar, Head of Postgraduate Programmes at the V&A, will engage with a little-explored chapter of Italian Renaissance artisanal expertise: pottery glazes which allowed earth to ‘transubstantiate’ into more prestigious materials, such as serpentine, porphyry and lapislazuli.

Endowing earthenware with stone-like effects, these novel productions—designed for the studiolo, the table, or as domestic ornaments—will be used to foreground Renaissance pottery as a technology of trans-material and transcultural connectivity. Drawing on recipe books, treatises, and surviving artefacts, Dr. Amjar will showcase this ware as technological innovations emerging from the encounter between different cultural contexts across Eurasia and revealing the potter as a material knower.


Dr. Marta Ajmar is Head of Postgraduate Programmes at the V&A. She is a museum-based historian and curator of Renaissance and Early Modern material culture and design interested in artisanal knowledge, histories, and practices of making, and in experiential pedagogies for higher education. She is currently completing a monograph (supported by a Leverhulme Research Fellowship) exploring material mimesis in Italian Renaissance artefacts by examining cross-culturally practices of material imitation and reinvention and the role of artisans as material knowers.


Renaissance Venice was a multicultural metropolis where migration and mobility shaped the daily lives of its inhabitants. Its position at the crossroads of trade routes linking Europe to the Islamic World brought a continuous flow of commodities like pigments, spices, and luxury objects. In the homes of Venetians, these imported goods complemented locally-made products like maiolica, or tin-glazed earthenware. Renaissance Venice: Life and Luxury at the Crossroads recreates a sensory world of objects, from Chinese porcelain and Islamic metalware to Venetian textiles and glass. Learn more

Presenting Programs Sponsor
The Samuel H. Kress Foundation

Exhibition Supporting Sponsor
Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation

Official Paint Sponsor

Farrow & Ball logo

Thanks To

Instituto italiano di cultura

Community Partners
Villa Charities

This exhibition includes objects generously provided by the Royal Ontario Museum.

Header: Marbled slipware dish (WA1888.CDEF.C440). © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford

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