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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. 5 3/4 in x Diam. 16 3/4 in, H. 14.6 cm x Diam. 42.5 cm
Credit Line: The Avery Brundage Collection
Department: West Asian Art
Collection: Ceramics
Object Number: B60P6+
On Display: Yes
Location: Gallery 7

Description

Label:

This bowl represents a high point in epigraphic ware production under the Persian Samanid dynasty (819-1005). The elaborate kufic version of the Arabic script is embellished with knotted interlaces and leafy flourishes that show off the artisan's skill. A sharp instrument was used to achieve the crisp edges of the slipware-painted script. The decoration of this bowl consists of an Arabic proverb that may be translated as, "Surely knowledge is the noblest of the innumerable virtues and manliness is the most intricate of lineages." This proverb is also found on wares now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Reza Abbasi Museum, Tehran. Inscriptions on other bowls and dishes discuss the delights of eating, and it has been suggested that reading the inscriptions may have provided a form of entertainment. In cosmopolitan Samanid society this might have been the case.

The conical bowl form with straight, flaring sides and a flat base is a practical one and seems to derive, as do many Islamic ceramic forms, from a more expensive metal prototype in silver.


More Information

Exhibition History: "Near Eastern Masterpieces", San Antonio Museum of Art, 5/16/1987 - 1/4/1988
Label:

This bowl represents a high point in epigraphic ware production under the Persian Samanid dynasty (819-1005). The elaborate kufic version of the Arabic script is embellished with knotted interlaces and leafy flourishes that show off the artisan's skill. A sharp instrument was used to achieve the crisp edges of the slipware-painted script. The decoration of this bowl consists of an Arabic proverb that may be translated as, "Surely knowledge is the noblest of the innumerable virtues and manliness is the most intricate of lineages." This proverb is also found on wares now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Reza Abbasi Museum, Tehran. Inscriptions on other bowls and dishes discuss the delights of eating, and it has been suggested that reading the inscriptions may have provided a form of entertainment. In cosmopolitan Samanid society this might have been the case.

The conical bowl form with straight, flaring sides and a flat base is a practical one and seems to derive, as do many Islamic ceramic forms, from a more expensive metal prototype in silver.


Exhibition History: "Near Eastern Masterpieces", San Antonio Museum of Art, 5/16/1987 - 1/4/1988