Slip-painting, the technique employed to decorate this ewer, was developed in Khurasan and Central Asia in the 10th century. It consists of diluting the pigment of the desired color in a slip (liquid clay), and of painting designs with the mixture: the adherence of the slip-painted designs to the surface of the vessel makes for a neat design, that does not run under the glaze. In this case, fine incisions of the black slip give definition to the design. The black slip-painting outlines a continuous motif of palmettes connected by a band with loops and an inscription in Kufic script. The text, typical of slip-painted vessels of this type, is an Arabic proverb and reads "devotion fortifies action".
Inscription: Inscription in Arabic written in foliated and plaited Kufic inscription a proverb, reading: "devotion fortifies action (al-ikhlas yuhassin al a'mal)
Ernest Erickson, New York (by 1956–d. 1983); Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc., New York (1983–88; gifted to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Balcony Calligraphy Exhibition," June 1, 2009–October 26, 2009, no catalogue.
Wilkinson, Charles K. "The Glazed Pottery of Nishapur and Samarkand." Bulletin of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New Series, vol. 20, no. 3 (November 1961). pp. 112-113, ill. ill. on cover.
Volov, Lisa. "Plaited Kufic on Samanid Epigraphic Pottery." Ars Orientalis vol. 6 (1966). pp. 130-131, ill. fig. 6 (text).
Inscriptions on Nishapur Pottery. Tehran, 1986. no. 95, ill. pl. 95 (b/w), proverb translated as "devotion fortifies actions".
Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin vol. 45 (1987–1988). pp. 10-11, ill. (color).