Bowl with Pseudo-Inscriptional Design

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 453

The main decoration of this bowl contains a band of epigraphy that might be read as the graphic contraction of the word "bi ’l-yumn" ("with happiness") or "al-yumn" ("happiness"). The decorative aspect of the letters is clearly preeminent and goes to the detriment of their legibility, to the extent that the band might be regarded as a pseudo-inscription.
However, such benedictory formulas were common on everyday objects of this period, such as pottery and metal.

Bowl with Pseudo-Inscriptional Design, Earthenware; white slip with polychrome slip decoration under transparent glaze

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