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At A Glance

  • Period

    10th century
  • Geography

    Iran or Afghanistan
  • Material

    Earthenware painted over transparent glaze
  • Dimension

    Diam: 32.4 cm (12 3/4 in)
  • Accession Number



Object Details

  • 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.
  • Collection

    Freer Gallery of Art Collection
  • Exhibition History

    Near Eastern Ceramics (May 10, 1985 to September 3, 1985)
    Near Eastern Ceramics (June 24, 1982 to September 23, 1982)
    Near Eastern Ceramics (May 14, 1981 to May 10, 1985)
    Art of the Near East (August 21, 1977 to December 14, 1979)
    Ceramics from the World of Islam (January 16, 1974 to July 1, 1974)
    Near Eastern Art (June 15, 1973 to May 7, 1975)
    2500 Years of Persian Art—Paintings, Pottery (February 10, 1972 to June 15, 1973)
    Near Eastern Art—Paintings, Pottery (August 18, 1967 to February 10, 1972)
    Near Eastern Art (June 5, 1964 to August 18, 1967)
    Persian Art (January 1, 1963 to September 3, 1963)
    Special Exhibition Afghanistan (September 3, 1963 to June 5, 1964)
    Special Exhibition of Persian Art (May 1, 1960 to August 11, 1961)
    Centennial Exhibition, Galleries 6 and 7 (February 25, 1956 to April 10, 1962)
  • Origin

    Iran or Afghanistan
  • Credit Line

    Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
  • Type

  • Restrictions and Rights

    Usage Conditions Apply

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