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Bowl with Arabic inscription
Place of Origin: Northeastern Iran
Date: approx. 900-1000
Materials: Earthenware with underglaze slip decoration
Style or Ware: Nishapur, Samarkand
Dimensions: H. 4 5/8 in x Diam. 15 7/8 in, H. 11.7cm x Diam. 40.3 cm
Credit Line: The Avery Brundage Collection
Department: West Asian Art
Collection: Ceramics
Object Number: B60P1862
On Display: Yes
Location: Gallery 7

Description

Label:

Calligraphy, or beautiful writing, has transformed this bowl made from humble materials into something quite exceptional. A dynamic rhythm of positive and negative space results from the artistically elongated letters of the inscription. With a spare, black-and-white aesthetic this bowl demonstrates that such "epigraphic slipwares" from the Samanid period (819-1005) are some of the visually most powerful ceramics ever produced in the Islamic world. Yet they are made from the simplest of materials: earthenware covered and decorated with a watery clay mixture called slip. The wares have been assigned to various centers of production, including Nishapur and Afrasiyab (old Samarkand). They appear to have been made for local use since they are not found in excavations west of central Persia. The inscriptions are usually Arabic proverbs or maxims. The Samanid rulers fostered a highly sophisticated, multicultural society comprising different ethnic and cultural groups including Persians, Arabs, and Turks. Of noble heritage, the Samanids championed older Persian artistic and literary forms while adding new Islamic elements, including the Arabic language.

This bowl's inscription advises the owner to seek moderation in the conduct of life.

INSCRIPTION: "Take the middle road in [your] affairs; indeed it is a Salvation. Don't ride a too gentle mount or a too obstinate one."


More Information

Inscriptions: Take the middle road in [your] affairs; indeed it is a Salvation. Don't ride a too gentle mount or a too obstinate one.
Exhibition History: "Near Eastern Masterpieces", San Antonio Museum of Art, 5/16/1987 - 1/4/1988
"Ancient Middle Eastern Objects" wall case (renewable annually), deYoung Museum, 4/13/1988 - 10/21/1992
Label:

Calligraphy, or beautiful writing, has transformed this bowl made from humble materials into something quite exceptional. A dynamic rhythm of positive and negative space results from the artistically elongated letters of the inscription. With a spare, black-and-white aesthetic this bowl demonstrates that such "epigraphic slipwares" from the Samanid period (819-1005) are some of the visually most powerful ceramics ever produced in the Islamic world. Yet they are made from the simplest of materials: earthenware covered and decorated with a watery clay mixture called slip. The wares have been assigned to various centers of production, including Nishapur and Afrasiyab (old Samarkand). They appear to have been made for local use since they are not found in excavations west of central Persia. The inscriptions are usually Arabic proverbs or maxims. The Samanid rulers fostered a highly sophisticated, multicultural society comprising different ethnic and cultural groups including Persians, Arabs, and Turks. Of noble heritage, the Samanids championed older Persian artistic and literary forms while adding new Islamic elements, including the Arabic language.

This bowl's inscription advises the owner to seek moderation in the conduct of life.

INSCRIPTION: "Take the middle road in [your] affairs; indeed it is a Salvation. Don't ride a too gentle mount or a too obstinate one."


Inscriptions: Take the middle road in [your] affairs; indeed it is a Salvation. Don't ride a too gentle mount or a too obstinate one.
Exhibition History: "Near Eastern Masterpieces", San Antonio Museum of Art, 5/16/1987 - 1/4/1988
"Ancient Middle Eastern Objects" wall case (renewable annually), deYoung Museum, 4/13/1988 - 10/21/1992