interior
Identification and Creation
Object Number
2002.50.93
Title
Small Bowl with Inscription in Contour Panels
Classification
Vessels
Work Type
vessel
Date
10th century
Places
Creation Place: Central Asia, Uzbekistan, Samarkand
Period
Samanid period
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/160528
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Reddish earthenware covered in white slip and painted with black (manganese and iron) and red (iron) under clear lead glaze
Technique
Underglazed, painted
Dimensions
3.3 x 12.4 cm (1 5/16 x 4 7/8 in.)
Provenance
[Hadji Baba Rabbi Antiquites, London and Teheran, before 1992], sold; to Stanford and Norma Jean Calderwood, Belmont, MA (by 1992-2002), gift; to Harvard Art Museums, 2002.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art
Accession Year
2002
Object Number
2002.50.93
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Description
The bold decoration of this finely potted bowl belies its diminutive size. A benevolent Arabic inscription popular for ceramics of the Samanid era is here rendered in imposing, wedge-shaped Kufic script; it can be interpreted as “Blessings and favor to its owner” . Words or parts of words are enclosed in contour panels outlined in red and separated by fields of black dots, a decorative treatment typical of wares found in Afrasiyab. These panels surround slightly sketchy lines in black and red slip, which in turn enclose a motif of two circles joined at the center by a black dot with cruciform protruding lines. The black outline of the rim is alternately smooth and dentate. The exterior, including the flat, slightly concave base, is undecorated except for a covering of white slip and beautifully clear glaze. The bowl has been put back together from numerous fragments, with minimal plaster fills.

Published Catalogue Text: In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art , written 2013
14

Small bowl with inscription in contour panels
Uzbekistan, Samarkand, Samanid period, 10th century
Reddish earthenware covered in white slip and painted with black (manganese and iron) and red (iron) under clear lead glaze
3.3 × 12.4 cm (1 5/16 × 4 7/8 in.)
2002.50.93

The bold decoration of this finely potted bowl belies its diminutive size. A benevolent Arabic inscription popular for ceramics of the Samanid era is here rendered in imposing, wedge-shaped Kufic script; it can be interpreted as “Blessings and favor to its owner” (baraka wa niʿma li-ṣāḥibihi).[1] Words or parts of words are enclosed in contour panels outlined in red and separated by fields of black dots, a decorative treatment typical of wares found in Samarkand.[2] These panels surround slightly sketchy lines in black and red slip, which in turn enclose a motif of two circles joined at the center by a black dot with cruciform protruding lines. The black outline of the rim is alternately smooth and dentate.

The exterior, including the flat, slightly concave base, is undecorated except for a covering of white slip and beautifully clear glaze. The bowl has been put back together from numerous fragments, with minimal plaster fills.

Mary McWilliams

[1] Although on a larger scale, the same inscription appears on a Samanid bowl (Harvard Art Museums, 1979.375) illustrated in Pancaroğlu 2002, 60, fig. 1.
[2] See Watson 2004, 221, cat. Gb.2.

Publication History

Mary McWilliams, ed., In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art, exh. cat., Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2013), p. 179, cat. 14, ill.

Exhibition History

In Harmony: The Norma Jean Calderwood Collection of Islamic Art, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/31/2013 - 06/01/2013

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu