Plate

Plate with a bowl-like concavity and wide marly; bold foot rim. Broken, repaired and restored with plaster.
Clay: soft, grayish.
Glaze: opaque, cream-white, stanniferous.
Decoration: painted in gold lustre with iridescent reflections. Kufic inscription and potter’s mark.

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Historical period(s)
Fatimid period, 12th century
Medium
Earthenware painted over glaze with luster
Dimensions
H x Diam: 7.5 x 38.4 cm (2 15/16 x 15 1/8 in)
Geography
Egypt
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
F1941.12
On View Location
Freer Gallery 03: Engaging the Senses
Classification(s)
Ceramic, Vessel
Type

Plate

Keywords
earthenware, Egypt, falcon, Fatimid period (909 - 1171), horse, kufic script, portrait
Provenance
Provenance research underway.
Description

Plate with a bowl-like concavity and wide marly; bold foot rim. Broken, repaired and restored with plaster.
Clay: soft, grayish.
Glaze: opaque, cream-white, stanniferous.
Decoration: painted in gold lustre with iridescent reflections. Kufic inscription and potter's mark.

Inscription(s)

1. (From original folder sheet note 3) (G.T.W., 1941) The Kufic inscription on the rim is as follows: [ ] and magnificence abundance complete perpetuity health and happiness and prosperity and...wealth (repair) (repair), (.........), (.............), (..............).........grandeur and ..............and................and to the possessor.

In the inscription there are the following errors: [Arbc] instead of [Arbc] the final letter of [Arbc] appears not to be a [Arbc] more like a final [Arbc] or [Arbc]; [Arbc] instead of [Arbc] instead of [Kufic] the meaning of the next combination of letters [Arbc] is obscure, and [Arbc] instead of [Arbc].

2. (From original folder sheet note 5) (R.E. 1945) Using a photograph in which all modern restorations are blotted out, the framing inscription on the rim should be read in the following manner:

[Arbc]
"Perfect blessing complete favor and good luck, and prosperity and security, and (repair) and health and complete happiness to its owner, may He free him from evil."

Comments on various words: 1. The [ ] is missing in [ ]. 2. Of this word only the initial sin or shin is preserved. As the rest of the final letter does not seem to be a ra the missing word does not seem to be [ ] or [ ] as one might expect. Other possibilities are [ ] with preference for the first two words on account of the limitation of the given space. 3. Of this word only the second, third and remains of the first letter are preserved, but the reading is clear. 4. The fourth and fifth letters are, by mistake, reversed so that the word reads [ ] instead of [ ]. Here the word [ ] would have to be added to make a grammatically more correct text.

The letters after the inscription [ ] on the foot, is apparently not a monogram standing for the potter's signature (otherwise a very likely suggestion) but it is [ ], the same inscription found also on other bowls (see G. Wiet, Deux pieces de ceramique egyptienne, Ars Islamica, III (1936), Fig. 2 opposite page 174). Aly Bey Bahgat and F. Massoul read it as "J'ai reussi" while Wiet proposes "bon a tirer" or "bon a cuire (ibid., p. 178).

3. (From original folder sheet note 7) (Wheeler Thackston, Harvard University, Summer 1990)
41.12
Inscription:

[Arbc]

baraka kamila wa-ni'ma shamila wa-iqbal wa-sa'ad(a) wa-salama wa-s...wa-'afiya wa-ghibta shamila li-sahibih khallasahu [min] sharr

"Perfect blessing, and all-encompassing good things, and good fortune and happiness and good health, and...and well-being and all-encompassing felicity for the owner, may [God[ deliver him [from] any evil."

Marking(s)

Potter's Mark

Published References
  • "アラブは、美しい." Arabs Are Beautiful. Japan, November 2020. page 93.
  • unknown article. no. 30 June 2010 Korea. .
  • Alan Caiger-Smith. Lustre Pottery: Technique, Tradition and Innovation in Islam and the Western World. .
  • Gaston Wiet, Comite de Conservation des Monuments de l'Art Arabe. La Ceramique Egyptienne de l'epoque Musulmane. Basel. no. 193, pl. 49, fig. 103.
  • Report of the Secretary, 1941/42. Washington. pl. 2.
  • O. C. Raphael. Fragments from Fustat. London, 1923-1924. .
  • Oriental Ceramics: The World's Great Collections. 12 vols., Tokyo. vol. 10, pl. 297.
  • Freer Gallery of Art. Gallery Book II: Exhibition of March 30, 1943. Washington. .
  • Dr. Abbas Daneshvari. Animal Symbolism in Warqa wa Gulshah. Oxford Studies in Islamic Art, 2 Oxford. fig. 45.
  • Alan Caiger-Smith. Lustre Pottery: Technique, Tradition, and Innovation in Islam and the Western World. London and Boston. fig. 26.
  • Aly Bey Bahgat, Felix Massoul. Le Ceramique Musulmane de l'Egypte. Cairo. .
  • W. A. Stewart. The Pottery of Fostat, Old Cairo. vol. 39, no. 220 London, July 1921. pp. 11-13, 16-18.
  • David James. Arab Painting, 368 A.H./969 A.D.-567 A.H/1171 A.D. Bombay, June 1976. pp. 11-50, fig. 1.
  • Richard Ettinghausen. Medieval Near Eastern Ceramics in the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington and Baltimore. p. 16.
  • Oliver Watson. Persian Luster Ware. The Faber monographs on pottery and porcelain Boston and London. p. 29.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. Art of the Arab World. Exh. cat. Washington, 1975. cat. 17, pp. 46-47.
  • The World of the Fatimids. Exh. cat. Munich. p.89.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. Ceramics from the World of Islam. Exh. cat. Washington, 1973. cat. 57, pp. 128-129.
  • Volkmar Enderlein. Islamische Kunst. Dresden. p. 130.
  • Jose Pijoan. Arte Islamico. vol. 12, Summa artis, historia general del arte, 1st ed. Madrid. p. 139, fig. 184.
  • Ernst Kuhnel. Die Abbasidischen Lusterfayencen. vol. 1, no. 2 Ann Arbor. p. 149ff.
  • Michael Brett. The Fatimid Empire. The Edinburgh History of the Islamic Empires Edinburgh. p. 161, fig. 7.1.
  • Gaston Wiet. Deux Pieces de Ceramique Egyptienne. vol. 3, no. 2 Ann Arbor. p. 172.
  • Gaston Wiet. Un Tissu Musulman du Nord de la Perse. vol. 10, no. 4 Paris, December 1936. pp. 173-179, pl. 49.
  • Max Herz Bey, Mathaf al-Fann al-Islami. A Descriptive Catalogue of the Objects Exhibited in the National Museum of Arab Art, Preceded by a Historical Sketch of the Architecture and Industrial Arts of the Arabs in Egypt. Cairo. p. 207ff.
  • Tomoko Masuya. Inscriptions on Kashan Pottery from the 12th - 14th Centuries., 30th ed. South Korea. p.309, fig.4.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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