This large bowl is decorated with a calligraphic design reading “Forbearance is at first bitter to the taste, but in the end sweeter than honey. Blessing.” Arabic proverbs appearing on slip-painted ware from Nishapur and Samarqand often reference the social codes and moral etiquette of the period, which included a strong emphasis on hospitality and generosity, and sometimes allude their use as functional objects. This bowl’s red earthenware body was covered in white slip and decorated with motifs found on metal objects from the period, including the stippled ground.
Inscription: Arabic inscription in kufic script around rim: "Forbearance is at first bitter to the taste, but in the end sweeter than honey. Blessing".
[ Hassan Khan Monif, New York, until 1956; sold to MMA]
Museum für Islamische Kunst, Pergamonmuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. "The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the M.M.A.," June 15, 1981–August 8, 1981, no. 7.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Celestial Pen: Islamic Calligraphy," September 28, 1982–February 7, 1983, no catalogue.
Grabar, Oleg. "Notes on the decorative composition of a bowl from northeastern Iran." In Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, edited by Richard Ettinghausen. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1972. p. 95, ill. fig. 4 (b/w).
"Masterpieces from The Metropolitan Museum of Art New York." In The Arts of Islam. Berlin, 1981. no. 7, pp. 40-41, ill. p. 41 (color).
Deroche, F., ed. "Essais de Codicologie et de Paleographie." In Les Manuscrits du Moyen-Orient. Paris: Institut Francais d'Etudes Anatoliennes, 1989. ill. Planche XVII C.