Stonepaste; polychrome painted under a transparent glaze
H. 2 13/16 in. (7.1 cm)
Diam. 10 1/4 in. (26 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1908
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 454
Typically formatted concentrically, the decoration of Syrian black‑and‑blue underglaze‑painted pieces often features pseudo‑inscriptions. Here, the repeated letters, alif‑lam, around a circular band against a vegetal scroll, are not merely a decorative device or reflection of a potter’s illiteracy. This letter combination held religious significance and appears to have been endowed with magical or talismanic properties.
Marking: -Sticker on foot: Rakka Plaque/XIII Century -Sticker on underside of rim: 2215/MHO
[ Dikran G. KelekianNew York, until 1908; sold to MMA]
Aanavi, Don. "Devotional Writing: "Pseudoinscriptions" in Islamic Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin vol. 26, no. 9 (May 1968). p. 356, ill. fig. 6 (b/w).
Jenkins-Madina, Marilyn. "Ceramics of Ayyubid Syria." In Raqqa Revisited. New York; New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2006. pp. 159, 166-8, 222, ill. MMA44 (color), pp. 169, 173.