Bowl

Black, yellow and green pigments on tannish ground, colorless glaze. Repaired.

The inside of the bowl shows a central tree flanked by two figures seated on stools while additional branches appear behind the figures; two birds with leaves in their beaks are suspended above their heads. The figures hold the branches from both the central tree and those behind them. A floral arabesque band adorns the inner rim. The exterior shows triangles alternating with concentric oval units.

Some of the pigments have run during the firing distorting the design. This feature is particularly noticeable on the lower portion of the left figure.
The theme of two figures flanking a stylized central tree recalls the motif employed in Sasanian and early Islamic textiles as well as the traditional investiture scenes (R. Ettinghausen, “A Case of Traditionalism in Iranian Art,” in Forschungen zur Kunst Asiens, pp.88-110, fig.21).

This bowl exemplifies the polychrome-painted wares which were executed in Nishapur during the ninth and tenth centuries. While other types of pottery excavated in this city were also found in Samarkand, this particular group represents a local style produced only in Nishapur. The polychrome-painted wares are characterized by crowded compositions, stylized representations of animal and human figures and excessive use of yellow in their color scheme.

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Historical period(s)
10th century
Medium
Earthenware; painted under glaze
Dimensions
H x W: 10.6 x 26.9 cm (4 3/16 x 10 9/16 in)
Geography
Iran, Propably Nishapur
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1959.16
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Ceramic, Vessel
Type

Bowl

Keywords
earthenware, flower, Iran
Provenance
Provenance research underway.
Description

Black, yellow and green pigments on tannish ground, colorless glaze. Repaired.

The inside of the bowl shows a central tree flanked by two figures seated on stools while additional branches appear behind the figures; two birds with leaves in their beaks are suspended above their heads. The figures hold the branches from both the central tree and those behind them. A floral arabesque band adorns the inner rim. The exterior shows triangles alternating with concentric oval units.

Some of the pigments have run during the firing distorting the design. This feature is particularly noticeable on the lower portion of the left figure.
The theme of two figures flanking a stylized central tree recalls the motif employed in Sasanian and early Islamic textiles as well as the traditional investiture scenes (R. Ettinghausen, "A Case of Traditionalism in Iranian Art," in Forschungen zur Kunst Asiens, pp.88-110, fig.21).

This bowl exemplifies the polychrome-painted wares which were executed in Nishapur during the ninth and tenth centuries. While other types of pottery excavated in this city were also found in Samarkand, this particular group represents a local style produced only in Nishapur. The polychrome-painted wares are characterized by crowded compositions, stylized representations of animal and human figures and excessive use of yellow in their color scheme.

Published References
  • Oriental Ceramics: The World's Great Collections. 12 vols., Tokyo. vol. 10, pl. 262.
  • The Memorial Volume of the 6th International Congress of Iranian Art and Archaeology: Oxford, September 11-16th, 1972. Tehran. fig. 8b.
  • Richard Ettinghausen. Medieval Near Eastern Ceramics in the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington and Baltimore. p. 12.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. Ceramics from the World of Islam. Exh. cat. Washington, 1973. cat. 6, pp. 24-25.
  • Islamic Art and Archaeology: Collected Papers. Berlin. pp. 914-937, fig. 21.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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