Bowl

Bowl, shallow, on solid foot. Knot design in center and festooned edge are in deep brown slip on white glaze, pitted in parts and occasionally chipped off along edge Broken and put together, but only very small pieces missing.

The edge of the bowl is decorated with a scalloped band, reminiscent of the formula employed in luster or imitation luster wares from Iraq and Iran. In the center there is a geometric knot executed in a dark-brown slip with the paint incised at the points of intersection to clarify the overlapping and underpassing bands.

This example, like Numbers 7, 8 and 9, belongs to the type of pottery excavated in Nishapur and Samarkand, although exact parallels to the knotted motif have not yet been published. Incisions through the slip-painted areas are commonly employed on these wares, used to define the elements of design and to add details.
The intricately composed knot is one of the major components utilized in the surface decoration of Islamic architecture and portable objects such as manuscripts, textiles, metalwork and ceramics. Vertical letters of the inscriptions, and the undulating stems and branches of the arabesques often intersect and form knots, creating a profusion of interrelated flowing elements, suggesting infinite growth. The knot seen on this bowl is taken from a wider repertoire of decorative themes and is used independently, adhering to the rather puristic concept of design which prevailed in Samanid slip-painted pottery. It is possible that the perpetual and yet self-contained movement of the knot possesses a mystical symbolism.

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Historical period(s)
Samanid period, 10th century
Medium
Earthenware painted over transparent glaze
Dimensions
Diam: 32.4 cm (12 3/4 in)
Geography
Iran or Afghanistan
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1953.70
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Ceramic, Vessel
Type

Bowl

Keywords
Afghanistan, earthenware, Iran, Samanid period (819 - 1005)
Provenance
Provenance research underway.
Description

Bowl, shallow, on solid foot. Knot design in center and festooned edge are in deep brown slip on white glaze, pitted in parts and occasionally chipped off along edge Broken and put together, but only very small pieces missing.

The edge of the bowl is decorated with a scalloped band, reminiscent of the formula employed in luster or imitation luster wares from Iraq and Iran. In the center there is a geometric knot executed in a dark-brown slip with the paint incised at the points of intersection to clarify the overlapping and underpassing bands.

This example, like Numbers 7, 8 and 9, belongs to the type of pottery excavated in Nishapur and Samarkand, although exact parallels to the knotted motif have not yet been published. Incisions through the slip-painted areas are commonly employed on these wares, used to define the elements of design and to add details.
The intricately composed knot is one of the major components utilized in the surface decoration of Islamic architecture and portable objects such as manuscripts, textiles, metalwork and ceramics. Vertical letters of the inscriptions, and the undulating stems and branches of the arabesques often intersect and form knots, creating a profusion of interrelated flowing elements, suggesting infinite growth. The knot seen on this bowl is taken from a wider repertoire of decorative themes and is used independently, adhering to the rather puristic concept of design which prevailed in Samanid slip-painted pottery. It is possible that the perpetual and yet self-contained movement of the knot possesses a mystical symbolism.

Published References
  • Oriental Ceramics: The World's Great Collections. 12 vols., Tokyo. vol. 10, pl. 266.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. Exhibition of 2500 Years of Persian Art. Exh. cat. Washington, 1971. cat. 65.
  • Treasure House of the Middle East. vol. 8, no. 19 Beirut, May 9, 1957. p. 10.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. Ceramics from the World of Islam. Exh. cat. Washington, 1973. cat. 10, pp. 32-33.
  • Islamic Art and Archaeology: Collected Papers. Berlin. pp. 331-384.
  • Richard Ettinghausen. The "Wade Cup" in the Cleveland Museum of Art: Its Origin and Decorations. vol. 2 Washington and Ann Arbor. p. 360, fig. 10.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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