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[AC] Mead Art Museum at Amherst College; [HC] Hampshire College Art Gallery;
[HD] Historic Deerfield; [MH] Mount Holyoke College Art Museum; [MH SK] The Joseph Allen Skinner Museum at Mount Holyoke College; [SC] Smith College Museum of Art; [UM] University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMASS Amherst

 


Maker(s):Unknown
Culture:Persian
Title:Bowl with Arabic inscription
Date Made:10th century (Samanid Period, 819–1005)
Type:Container
Materials:Earthenware; black slip painted on white slip under transparent glaze
Place Made:Asia; Iran; Nishapur; or Uzbekistan; Samarqand
Measurements:Overall: 3 1/4 in x 10 1/2 in; 8.3 cm x 26.7 cm
Accession Number:  MH 2013.29.2
Credit Line:Purchase with the John Martyn Warbeke Art Fund
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Currently on view

Description:
Deep white bowl with flaring sides, decorated with a single band of black new style Kufic below the rim. The exterior is plain. Ceramic.

Label Text:
Bowls such as this one have been found in large numbers at the site of the medieval Iranian city of Nishapur, a thriving urban center during the Samanid Period (819–1005). The starkly graphic design of this bowl consists of one simple line of Arabic calligraphy, encircling the entirety of the bowl’s deep rim. The gracefully elongated horizontals and sharp-tipped verticals of the letters are unique to an early type of Arabic calligraphy known as ‘new style kufic.’ As the bowl’s sole decoration, the writing is simple yet visually powerful, and reads: “Generosity is the disposition of the dwellers of Paradise. Good fortune.” As a serving bowl likely used for entertaining on special occasions, the message of hospitality is fitting.

Tags:
ancient; archaeology

Link to share this object record:
https://museums.fivecolleges.edu/detail.php?t=objects&type=ext&id_number=MH+2013.29.2

Research on objects in the collections, including provenance, is ongoing and may be incomplete. If you have additional information or would like to learn more about a particular object, please email fc-museums-web@fivecolleges.edu.

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