Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Bowl with Arabic Inscription, "Blessing, prosperity, well-being, happiness"

Object Name:
Bowl
Date:
late 10th–11th century
Geography:
present-day Uzbekistan, probably Samarqand; Iran, Nishapur
Culture:
Islamic
Medium:
Earthenware; white slip with polychrome slip decoration under transparent glaze
Dimensions:
Max Diam. 14 in. (35.6 cm) H. 4 1/4 (10.8 cm)
Classification:
Ceramics
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1940
Accession Number:
40.170.15
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 453
Many ceramics from the Nishapur region are decorated with calligraphy. The writing on these objects often relates to their use (i.e., "Eat with appetite") or repeat a familiar proverb. The writing on this bowl expresses good wishes for the owner: "Blessing, felicity, prosperity, well-being, happiness." Curiously, the inscription includes the start of an additional word, al, meaning "the," but not the rest of the word. The tall vertical strokes of these letters must have been included to make the overall visual effect of the inscription more harmonious. This bowl is thought to come from Samarqand, because the central motif of interlacing straps is also found on metal objects made there.
Inscription: Inscription in Arabic in “new-style” script around rim:
البرکة و الغبطة و النعمة و السلامة و السعادة الـ
Blessing, felicity, prosperity, well-being, happiness [. . .]
1939, excavated at Tepe Madrasa in Nishapur, Iran by the Metropolitan Museum of Art's expedition; 1940, acquired by the Museum in the division of finds

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Calligraphy West of China," March 15, 1972–May 7, 1972.

New York. Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. "The Educated Eye," January 1973–February 1973.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Nature of Islamic Ornament Part II: Vegetal Patterns," September 10, 1998–January 10, 1999.

Paris. Musée du Louvre. "Louvre Long Term Loan," April 28, 2004–April 27, 2006.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Balcony Calligraphy Exhibition," June 1, 2009–October 26, 2009.

McAllister, Hannah, Maurice S. Dimand, Charles K. Wilkinson, and Walter Hauser. "Excavations of the Iranian Expedition in the Kanat Teppeh, Nishapur." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, old series, vol. 37 (1942). pp. 111, 114, ill. fig. 40 (b/w).

Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Muhammadan Art. 2nd rev. and enl. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1944. p. 164, ill. fig. 100 (b/w).

Lane, Arthur. "Mesopotamia, Egypt and Persia." In Early Islamic Pottery. Faber Monographs on Pottery and Porcelain. London: Faber and Faber, 1947. p. 18, ill. pl. 15B (b/w).

Wilkinson, Charles K. "The Glazed Pottery of Nishapur and Samarkand." Bulletin of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New Series, vol. 20, no. 3 (November 1961). p. 108, ill. fig. 12 (b/w).

Wilkinson, Charles K. Nishapur: Pottery of the Early Islamic Period. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1973. no. 2, ch. 4, pp. 131, 146, ill. p. 146 (b/w).

Ettinghausen, Richard. "Islamic Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin vol. 33, no. 1 (Spring 1975). ill. p. 10 (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. 68, pp. 7, 110-111, ill. p. 111 (color).

Ekhtiar, Maryam, and Claire Moore, ed. "A Resource for Educators." In Art of the Islamic World. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. pp. 172-173, ill. pl. 34 (color).



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