Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object

Bowl with musicians

Object Name:
mid-13th century
Iran, Kashan
Stonepaste; luster-painted on opaque monochrome glaze
H. 4 3/8 in. (11.1 cm) Diam. 19 5/8 in. (49.8 cm)
Credit Line:
Fletcher Fund, 1932
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 453
With the emergence of the so‑called Kashan style, Iranian lusterware truly comes into its own. On this bowl, the richly patterned figures of two musicians at the center blend with their densely ornamented background. Four calligraphic bands, one of interlaced and foliated kufic and three in naskh script, contain benedictory phrases in Arabic, quatrains extracted from the works of four different Persian poets, and a poem attributed to the famous mystical poet 'Abd al- Majd Majdud Sana'i (d. 1130).
Inscription: Inscriptions divided into four registers, starting on outer rim and moving inward

First register, Arabic in naskhi script:
والعز والاقبال والدولة والسعادة والسلامة والکرامة والغالب والدولة والسلامة
والغالب والدولة والعز والاقبال والدولة والسعادة والکرامة والنعمة والبرکة
والتأ یید والکرامة والسعادة والسلامة والعز
Glory, prosperity, dominion, happiness, well-being, generosity,
victory, dominion, well-being, victory, dominion, glory, prosperity,
dominion, happiness, generosity, prosperity, blessing, support,
generosity, happiness, well-being, and glory

Second register, four ruba‘is (quatrains) in Persian
and two blessings in Arabic, all in naskhi script:
First ruba‘i:
دیدار توأم همیشه در دیده بود آن کن صنما کز تو پسندیده بود
ای جان جهان دلم بدان خرسند است گواهم که او ترا دیده بود
Your beautiful countenance is forever [captured] in my eyes,
O beloved, do what you prefer.
O life of creation, my heart is joyful; I can swear that
[it is] because I caught a glimpse of you.
عز اقبال دولة سلامة بقاء . . . لصاحبه
Glory, prosperity, dominion, well-being and long life . . . to its owner

Second ruba‘i:
گفتم که مگر آن صنم نیک اندیش رحمی آرد . . . با دل ریش
کی دانستم که آن کافر کیش کارد سر مارا بدامن و گردن خویش
I said: “Won’t that virtuous beloved with a broken heart forgive you?”
How did I know that the heretic would hold our knife against your body and neck?

Third ruba‘i, attributed to Sadr al-Din Khujandi:1
مقصود بیافت هر آنچ با غم یار بساخت در کام رسید هرچ با کار بساخت
مه نور بدان یافت کز شب نرمید گل بوی بدان گرفت که با خار بساخت
Whoever endures living with the sorrow of the beloved
will find happiness and purpose.
The moon is luminous because it did not escape the night;

(This Rubā‘ī with some different appears by the name of Shams Tabrīzī in Kullīyyt Shams Tabrīzī, ed. Bad al-Zamān Furūzānfar, Amir Kabir publications, 8th ed., Tehran, 1361/ 1983, p.1334. It is also attributed to Ṣadr al-Dīn khujandī and appears in Nuzhat al-Majālis, by Jamāl Khalīl Shīrvānī, ed. Muḥmmad Amīn Rīyāī, Zuvvār Publication, 1366/ 1988, p.208, No.767)

the flower is fragrant because it lives with the thorn.

Fourth ruba‘i:
آنی که درین جهان خسته جانی بر لشکرخوبان جهان سلطانی
این آب دو چشم بنده ضایع مگذار آخر بزمینی بر اگر دهقانی
He whose soul is tired in this world, is the king of the virtuous.
Do not waste my tears, for the farmer can rejuvenate the earth with them.
عز اقبال دولة سلامة بقاء عز اقبال دولة سلامة عز اقبال دولة سلامة
Glory, prosperity, dominion, well-being, long life, glory, prosperity, dominion,
well-being; glory, prosperity, dominion and well-being

Third register, Arabic inscription in ornamental kufic on cavetto: [illegible]

Fourth register, Persian verses by the mystical poet Sana’i,
followed by blessings in Arabic:
ای مه نو بروی تو دیده و اندر تو ماه نو بخندیده
تو نیز ز بیم خصم اندر من از دور نگاه کرده دزدیده
بنموده فلک مه نو و خود را در زیر سیاه ابر پوشیده
تو نیز مه چهارده بنمای بردار ز سر خلق شوریده
کی باشد کی که در تو آویزم چون در زر و سیم مرد نادیده
تو روی مرا بناخنان خسته من دو لب تو ببوسه خا ییده
The full moon looked at you and smiled
And you fearing hostility in me, glanced at me secretly from a distance.
The sky has hidden itself and the full moon under dark clouds.
Be like the half-moon and keep unhappy dispositions away.
When will I be able to hang upon you like gold and silver?
You stroke my face with your tired nails while I shower your lips with kisses.

(Divān Sanāī᾽, ed, Mudarris Razavī, Sanāī᾽ publication, p. 1010.)

عز اقبال دولة سلامة بقاء . . . لصاحبه
Glory, prosperity, dominion, well-being and long life . . . to its owner
V. Everit Macy, New York (until d. 1930; his estate, 1930–32; sold to MMA)
Dimand, Maurice S. "The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, May 12 to June 28, 1931." In Loan Exhibition of Ceramic Art of the Near East. New York, 1931. no. 72, p. 18, no ill.

Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin vol. 27 (June 1932). pp. 160-61, ill. fig. 2.

Dimand, Maurice S. "A Picture Book." In Islamic Pottery of the Near East. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1936. ill. fig. 8.

Wilkinson, Charles K. Iranian Ceramics. New York: Asia House Gallery, 1963. no. 58, p. 131, ill. pl. 58 (b/w).

Ettinghausen, Richard. "The Flowering of Seljuq Art." Metropolitan Museum Journal vol. 3 (1970). p. 121, ill. fig. 11 (b/w).

A Guide to the Collections. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1972. p. 181, ill. fig. 7.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Masterpieces of Fifty Centuries: the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1970. no. 164, p. 184, ill. (b/w).

Watson, Oliver. Persian Lustre Ware. London; Boston: Faber and Faber, 1985. p. 93, ill. fig. 65 (b/w).

Ekhtiar, Maryam, Sheila R. Canby, Navina Haidar, and Priscilla P. Soucek, ed. Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1st ed. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. no. 75, pp. 117-119, ill. p. 119 (color).

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