circa 1200 AD
stonepaste, painted underglaze or in-glaze with cobalt and turquoise and overglaze in red and black enamels (mina’i ware)
9 x 21.7cm
The technique of decorating pottery with enamels in a second firing (mina’i wares) considerably increased the range of colours available to Persian potters and when skilfully combined with underglaze decoration in black, cobalt or turquoise produced a variety of effects. Decoration typically included processions of animals or legendary beasts like sphinxes and harpies, abstract designs and genre scenes of court life, although a few pieces bear identifiable scenes from the national epic, the Shahnamah (‘Book of Kings’) by Firdawsi. [see POT 875]
The decoration of this bowl follows a well-established theme: two princely figures seated under a tree in a schematic landscape with birds and a fishpond. The pseudo-Kufic inscription that runs along the inside of the rim is possibly based on the Arabic word, al-‘izz (‘glory’), while the cursive inscription on the outside appears to be based on the word al-barr (‘piety’).
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.229, p.210. J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.128, p.113.