Bowl with Zodiac signs, Seljuq period (1040–1196), 13th century
Attributed to Iran, Kashan
Stonepaste; overglaze luster–painted on opaque white glaze; H. 3.5 in. (8.9 cm)
Purchase, Edward C. Moore Jr. Gift, 1927 (27.13.9)
This bowl combines the most distinctive features of lusterware produced in Kashan: moon-faced figures; poetry in naskhi calligraphy; and a covering of spiral marks that fill the areas between the decorative motifs. In addition, the outermost decorative band includes medallions with all twelve signs of the Zodiac. Capricorn (al-jady, "the kid"), is depicted as a small goat in profile. Like the other Zodiac signs that are represented as animals, such as Aries and Taurus, when shown with its Planetary Lord, the personification of the planet, in this case Saturn, sits astride Capricorn.
Said the Wise Abu Macshar: "Those who are born in this decade have a shiny complexion with a tendency to become either tanned or very white. They are tall, speak in an amiable manner, have a good character and a thin skin, and make a nice appearance. They are good mediators. They love to mix with other people and are easygoing. They are fearful in their youth. They are well-versed in scientific matters. They have a mark on their right knee, belly, and hips, and a scar on their feet. Allah knows more..."