Patron: Abu Nasr Kirmanshah
Historical period(s)
Saljuq period, late 12th-early 13th century
Stone-paste body painted under glaze and over glaze with enamel (mina'i)
H x Diam: 9 x 18.9 cm (3 9/16 x 7 7/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Ceramic, Vessel


elephant, Iran, kufic script, portrait, Saljuq period (1037 - 1300)
Provenance research underway.

This eight-lobed bowl harmoniously combines figural, abstract, and calligraphic designs and is typical of some of the finest medieval Persian ceramics. The bowl is decorated with enamel paint, and a princely figure on a large and powerful elephant dominates the center. A band of kufic inscription offering blessings and good wishes surrounds him. The exterior inscription celebrates the qualities of a certain Abu Nasr Kirmanshah, the patron of this finely decorated bowl.

Published References
  • Freer Gallery of Art. Gallery Book III: Exhibition of September 5, 1933. Washington, September 5, 1933. .
  • , Eva Baer, David Nicolle, Barbara Schmitz, Oliver Watson. The Art of the Saljuqs in Iran and Anatolia. Costa Mesa, California. fig. 136.
  • Masterpieces of Western and Near Eastern Ceramics. 8 vols., Tokyo and New York. pl. 46.
  • Richard Ettinghausen, Ernst Kuhnel. A Survey of Persian Art from Prehistoric Times to the Present. 6 vols., London and New York, 1938 - 1939. vol. 1: p. 892; vol. 2: pp. 1564-65; vol. 3: p. 2359, vol. 5, pl. 663a.
  • Oriental Ceramics: The World's Great Collections. 12 vols., Tokyo. vol. 10, pl. 283.
  • Unknown title. Boston, September 26, 1938. p. 8.
  • Richard Ettinghausen. Medieval Near Eastern Ceramics in the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington and Baltimore. p. 33.
  • Randall L. Pouwels. African and Middle Eastern World, 600-1500. The Medieval and Early Modern World New York. p. 62.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. Ceramics from the World of Islam. Exh. cat. Washington, 1973. cat. 39, pp. 90-91.
  • Islamic Art and Patronage: Treasures from Kuwait. Exh. cat. New York. p. 107, fig. 16.
  • Gaston Wiet. Un Bol en Faience du XIIe Siecle. vol. 1, no. 1 Ann Arbor. pp. 118-120.
  • Mehmet Aga-Oglu. A Minai Bowl of the Late Tenth Century. vol. 62, no. 362 London, May 1933. p. 208.
  • Marianna Shreve Simpson. The Illustration of an Epic: The Earliest Shahnama Manuscripts. Outstanding Dissertations in the Fine Arts New York and London. p. 268.
  • Eleanor Sims, Boris I. Marshak, Ernst Grube. Peerless Images: Persian Painting and its Sources. New Haven and London. p. 290.
  • Grace Dunham Guest. Letter: A Minai Bowl of the Late 10th Century. vol. 63, no. 369 London, December 1933. p. 291.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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