Ewer with Arabic proverb, "Devotion fortifies action"
Iran or present-day Uzbekistan, Nishapur or Samarqand
Earthenware; white slip with black slip decoration under transparent glaze
H. 5 3/8 in. (13.7 cm)
Diam. at rim 3 3/4 in. (9.5 cm)
Gift of Ernest Erickson Foundation, 1988
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 453
Slip-painting, the technique employed to decorate this ewer, was developed in Khurasan and Central Asia in the 10th century. It consists of diluting the pigment of the desired color in a slip (liquid clay), and of painting designs with the mixture: the adherence of the slip-painted designs to the surface of the vessel makes for a neat design, that does not run under the glaze. In this case, fine incisions of the black slip give definition to the design. The black slip-painting outlines a continuous motif of palmettes connected by a band with loops and an inscription in Kufic script. The text, typical of slip-painted vessels of this type, is an Arabic proverb and reads "devotion fortifies action".
Inscription: Inscription in Arabic written in foliated and plaited Kufic inscription a proverb, reading: "devotion fortifies action (al-ikhlas yuhassin al a'mal)
Ernest Erickson, New York (by 1956–d. 1983); Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc., New York (1983–88; gifted to MMA)
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). pp. 112-113, ill. ill. on cover.
Inscriptions on Nishapur Pottery. Tehran, 1986. no. 95, ill. pl. 95 (b/w), proverb translated as "devotion fortifies actions".
Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin vol. 45 (1987-1988). pp. 10-11, ill. (color).