Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Tile with Niche Design

Nusrat al-Din Muhammad
Object Name:
Tile with niche design
dated A.H. 860/A.D. 1455–56
Attributed to Iran
Stonepaste; inglaze painted in blue, luster-painted on opaque white glaze
H. 15 1/2 in. (39.4 cm) W. 11 1/4 in. (28.6 cm) D. 1 3/8 in. (3.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Theodore M. Davis Collection, Bequest of Theodore M. Davis, 1915
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 455
Arabic Inscription: "In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. The building of this structure was ordered by the supreme Sultan Abu Anbiyya al-Muzaffar A[bu] Sa'id Bahadur Khan, May God perpetuate his kingdom. Nusrat al-Din Muhammad wrote this in the year 860/1455–56."
Along with two calligraphic frieze tiles in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum displaying similar floral designs, this luster tile once adorned an as‑yet‑unidentified building commissioned by Abu Sa'id (1424–69), great‑grandson of Timur. From the inscription on this small tile, we learn not only the name of the patron, and the date of the building’s construction, but also the name of the tile’s calligrapher—Nusrat al‑Din Muhammad.
Inscription: In Arabic; in naskh script; on outer band from lower right corner:

"In the name of God the Merciful Benefactor, the supreme sultan Abu Anbiyya al-Muzaffar, A [bu] Sa'id Bahadur Khan, May God perpetuate his kingdom. Nusrat al-Din Muhammad wrote this in the year year 860" (1455-56 A.D.)

Abu Sa'id Bahadur (r. 855–873/1451–1469), Sultan in Samarqand and Transoxiana, and in Khurasan from 863 on.

Some mistakes in the inscription, indicating a Persian speaker.
Theodore M. Davis, New York (by 1914–d. 1915; bequeathed to MMA)
Washington. Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. "Timur and the Princely Vision. Persian Art and Culture in the Fifteenth Century," April 14, 1989–July 6, 1989, no. 113A-B.

Los Angeles. Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "Timur and the Princely Vision. Persian Art and Culture in the Fifteenth Century," August 13, 1989–November 5, 1989, no. 113A-B.

Paris. Musée du Louvre. "Louvre Long Term Loan," April 28, 2004–April 27, 2006, no catalogue.

Ettinghausen, Richard, and Arthur Upham Pope. "Dated Faience." In Survey of Persian Art. vol. 2. 1939. no. 35, p. 1667-96, 1687, Not illustrated.

Grube, Ernst J. "Notes on the Decorative Arts of the Timurid Period." In Gururajamañjarika: Studi in onore di Giuseppe Tucci. Naples, 1974. ill. fig. 67, pl. LXIV.

Grube, Ernst J. Islamic Pottery of the Eight to the Fifteenth Century in the Keir Collection. London: Faber and Faber, 1976. no. 259, pp. 298-99, Another tile bearing a very similar inscription and the same date, in the Keir collection, London.

Islamic Works of Art, Carpets and Textiles. London: Sotheby's, London, October 12–13, 1982. no. 22, p. 25, ill., A related similar tile, but without inscriptions.

Watson, Oliver. Persian Lustre Ware. London; Boston: Faber and Faber, 1985. pp. 159,160, 197, ill. fig. 129 (b/w), See also Appendix III, no. 133.

Lentz, Thomas W., and Glenn D. Lowry. "Persian Art and Culture in the Fifteenth Century." In Timur and the Princely Vision. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1989. no. 113 A-B, pp. 213, 352, ill. p. 213 (color).

Tilden, Jill, ed. First Under Heaven: The Art of Asia, Hali annual, vol. 4 (1997). p. 17, ill. fig. 16 (color).

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