Bowl with Pseudo-inscription

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 454

Typically formatted concentrically, the decoration of Syrian black‑and‑blue underglaze‑painted pieces often features pseudo‑inscriptions. Here, the repeated letters, alif‑lam, around a circular band against a vegetal scroll, are not merely a decorative device or reflection of a potter’s illiteracy. This letter combination held religious significance and appears to have been endowed with magical or talismanic properties.

Bowl with Pseudo-inscription, Stonepaste; polychrome painted under a transparent glaze

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