Afrasiyab (old Samarkand), Central Asia
10th century AD
earthenware, painted with red and purplish-black slips under a colourless glaze
4.8 x 14.5cm
The inscription, which is in a handsome book hand of about a century earlier reads,barakah li-sahibihi (‘Blessing to its owner’). Its distinction lies in the fact that it is written in irregular compartments defined by small irregularly-shaped dotted panels. These ‘clouds’ were later adopted in Qur’anic illumination and, subsequently, became almost standard in the layout of the holy text.
E.J. Grube et al, Cobalt and Lustre. The First Centuries of Islamic Pottery, The Nasser D Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, volume IX, London 1994, cat.70, p.80. J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.39, pp.52–3.