While this small earthenware pitcher excavated from Nishapur is less colorful than the famous glazed ceramics found at the same site, it is no less vibrant in terms of its decorative program. Most of the preserved surface is covered with registers containing repeat patterns, each one different from the others. In the central register, birds and seated men alternate with large tear-drop shapes, all on a stippled ground. These patterns were made by hemispherical molds in which the body of this vessel was cast. The use of molds not only enabled Nishapur’s potters to easily make intricate surface decorations, but the technique also produced motifs that stood out in relief, creating a surface texture similar to cast or hammered metalwork.
1935, excavated at South Horn Kiln in Nishapur, Iran by the Metropolitan Museum of Art's expedition; 1936, acquired by the Museum in the division of finds
Wilkinson, Charles K. Nishapur: Pottery of the Early Islamic Period. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1973. no. 166, pp. 330-331, 358, ill. p. 358 (b/w).