Earthenware; white slip with black slip decoration under transparent glaze
H. 2 15/16 in. (7.5 cm) Diam. 9 3/4 in. (24.8 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1936
Not on view
The decoration of this earthenware bowl, rendered in black slip on a bright white ground, suggests a lively sense of playfulness on the part of its designer. The motif at its bottom is surely meant to be a bird, but two vine-like motifs are attached seamlessly to the head. Similarly, the tall vertical elements of the inscription that runs just under the bowl’s lip are made to sprout leaves. The text of the inscription echoes the light tone of the decoration itself: it repeats the Arabic word "baraka," which translates to "blessing." This bowl, excavated from Nishapur in eastern Iran, is indicative of the slip-painted wares produced in the region during the tenth century in its playful fusion of motifs, its use of calligraphy as a primary decorative feature and its reserved color palette of black on white. Such qualities continue to attract viewers to this ceramic type today.
1935, purchased in Nishapur, Iran by the Metropolitan Museum of Art's expedition; 1936, accessioned by the Museum
Upton, Joseph M. "The Persian Expedition, 1934–1935." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin vol. 31 (1936). p. 178, ill. fig. 4.
Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Muhammadan Art. 2nd rev. and enl. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1944. p. 163, ill. fig. 98 (b/w).
Wilkinson, Charles K. Nishapur: Pottery of the Early Islamic Period. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1973. no. 15, pp. 97, 114, ill. p. 114 (b/w).