Inscribed Bowl, Al-Imami Sayyid Naqqash al-Husaini (Syrian, born?–?died Iran, active first half 16th century), Copper; tinned, engraved, and inlaid with black compound

Inscribed Bowl

Al-Imami Sayyid Naqqash al-Husaini (Syrian, born?–?died Iran, active first half 16th century)
Object Name:
dated A.H. 942/A.D. 1535–36
Made in Iran, probably Tabriz
Copper; tinned, engraved, and inlaid with black compound
H. 6 9/16 in. (16.7 cm)
Diam. 13 3/4 in. (34.9 cm)
Credit Line:
Edward C. Moore Collection, Bequest of Edward C. Moore, 1891
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 462
The defining elements of this bowl—cloud scrolls, cartouches, interlacing roundels, and the "Y" pattern—point to Safavid Tabriz as the most likely place of production. Immediately below the rim is a Shi'i prayer in naskh script. Enclosed in the cartouches are verses invoking abundance and happiness. The name of the owner, Qasim ibn Husain Qannadi, the artist’s signature, and the date of manufacture appear further down, in the row of quatrefoils. The bowl can also be linked to the late fifteenth‑century Turkmen school of metalwork, which had close stylistic ties to the arts of the Ottoman and Mamluk empires.
Signature: In Arabic, in the lower medallions: "The make of Al-Imami. ...year 942 (A.H.)" Translated by Yasser al-Tabaa, 1978

Inscription: In Arabic and Persian.

-On upper band: "O God! Pray on al-Mustafa (the chosen) Muhammad, al-Murtaza (with whom God is pleased) `Ali, al-Batul (the virgin) Fatima, al-sibtayn (the two grandsons [or al-Bastayn ?] al-Hasan and al-Husayn and pray on Zayn al-`Ibad (the best of humans) `Ali, al-Baqir (the lion) Muhammad, al-Sadiq (truthful) Ja`far, al-Kazim (the constrained) Musa, al-Radi `Ali, al-Naqi (the pure) Muhammad, al-Taqi (the pious) `Ali, al-Zaki, al-`Askari (the pure from sin, the soldier) al-Hasan and pray on the standing proof, the good heir, al-Imam al-Hammam (the heroic Imam). Muhammad al-Mahdi (the guided one). May God pray on the all."
-On lower cartouches: "made by al-Imami in the year 942 (A.H.)".
Translation by Yassir al-Tabba (1978)

"O Allah bless Muhammad the Chosen, `Ali the Pleasing, the Noble Fatima, the two martyrs, Hasan and Husain; and bless `Ali Zain al-`Abidin, Muhammad al-Bakir, Ja`far al-Sadiq, Musa al-Kazim, `Ali al-Radi, Muhammad al-Taki, `Ali al-Naki, Hasan Zaki al-`Askari; and bless the Proof, the Appointed One, the Vice-regent, the ... , the powerful Muhammand al-Mahdi; the blessing Allah be upon him and upon all of them."
Translation by H.E. McAllister (1938)

On upper band: "O Allah bless Mustafa Muhammad, Murtaza `Ali the noble Fatima, two victims Hasan and Husain and bless `Ali Zain Abidin, Bakir Muhammad, Sadiq Jafar, Kazim Musa, Riza `Ali, Taqi Muhammad, Naki `Ali, Zaki Askari Hasan and bless the guard of traditions, the Caliph, the Sovereign of Imams, the powerful Muhammad Mehali, the blessings of Allah upon all of them!"

On second band: "Oh possessor of sad thoughts! Forget them! Always keep your heart free. This bowl will efface the shame of love. May this bowl full to the brim be the support of him who is sorrowful. *This globular bowl is a part of the cupola of the sky. For this reason may the splendid palace (of its owner) not be deprived of happiness. Who fills this bowl for its owner is his friend. Thanks to this bowl a foe becomes a true friend.* May this bowl not be one moment without contents. With it the high society and the common people will always receive profit. For the place, abundance; for its owners, fortune. May there be glory for friend and shame for foe"

In medallions on upper row: "O God! the owner (of this bowl) and the King Kasim ben (son of) Husain Qubadi (?) may he be always here and the universal glory be to him everywhere!"; (in medallions, lower row a poem by Sa'di): "Our aim is to make a drawing which will outlive us, because its future existence we shall not see. Made by Al-Imami from Aleppo, the guild master. Year 942 A.H. (1535-36 A.D.)"

From top to bottom:

All inscriptions in thuluth script.
Prayer for Shi’a Imams in Arabic:

اللهم صل علی المصطفی محمد و المرتضی علي و البتول فاطمة و السبطین الحسن و الحسین و صل علی زین العابدین وعلی الباقر محمد و الصادق جعفر و الکاظم موسی و الرضی علي و التقي محمد و النقي علي و الزکي العسکري الحسن و صل علی الحجة القائم الخلف الصالح الامام الهمام محمد المهدي صلوات الله علیهم اجمعین

Persian poem:

ای صاحب طاس غم فراموشت باد پیوسته مرا دل در آغوشت باد
در طاس تا سپهر بود مهره مهر هر چه کزین طاس خوری نوشت باد

این طاس کزو برده طاس ز افلاک یا رب که تهی مبادا از نعمت پاک
بادا به صاحبش نصیب آن چنان درگاه سه چشم و خصم لادا خاک

این طاس تهی مباد یکدم از طعام تا فیض رسد زو بهر خاص و عوام
یا رب که طعام و صاحب طاس نعمت رسد بر دوست حلال باد و بر خصم حرام

Persian poem by Sa’di and the name of the metalworker as:

غرض نقشیست کز ما/ باز ماند که/ هستی را نمی/ بینم بقائی
عمل الامامی/ سیه نقش الحسینی سنه 942

Persian poem and the name of the owner as:
نگه دار بادا/ جهان آفرین/ بهر جا که باشد/ خداوند این/
مالکه و صاحبه/ قاسم بن حسین
Edward C. Moore, New York (until d. 1891; bequeathed to MMA)
New York. Asia Society. "Hunt for Paradise: Court Arts of Safavid Iran," October 16, 2003–January 18, 2004, no. 8.7.

"Specimens of Mohammedan Art in the Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum Studies vol. 1, no. 1 (November 1928). no. 9, ill. fig. 9.

Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Mohammedan Decorative Arts. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1930. p. 119.

Pope, Arthur Upham. "The Art of the Book, Textiles, Carpets, Metalwork, Minor arts." In Survey of Persian Art, edited by Dr. Phyllis Ackerman. vol. 3. London, New York: Oxford University Press, 1938–58. p. 2524, ill. pl. 1385A.

Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Muhammadan Art. 2nd rev. and enl. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1944. p. 154.

Thompson, Jon, and Sheila R. Canby, ed. "Court Arts of Safavid Iran 1501–1576." In Hunt for Paradise. Milan; New York: Skira , 2003. no. 8.7, p. 212, ill. fig. 8.7 (color).

Canby, Sheila R. The Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp: The Persian Book of Kings. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2014. p. 27, ill. fig. 18 (color).