Historical period(s)
Safavid period, 1500-1510
Silver inlaid with gold and niello
H x W x D: 3.2 x 11.2 x 11.2 cm (1 1/4 x 4 7/16 x 4 7/16 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 04: Engaging the Senses: Art in the Islamic World
Metalwork, Vessel


black and white inlay, casting, chasing, incising, inlay, Iran, nasta'liq script, Safavid period (1501 - 1722), spinning (metalwork)
Provenance research underway.

Inscriptions often refer to an object's function.  The poem encircling the rim of this bowl alludes to drinking wine as a means of reaching the beloved--a common mystical metaphor for spiritual enlightenment.  Written in fine nasta'liq script, the lines of poetry are from a well-known ode (ghazal) by the Persian poet Hafiz (died 1390).  They conclude as follows: 

Here we are with our wine and the ascetics with their piety,
Let us see which one the beloved will take. 

Published References
  • Linda Komaroff. The Timurid Phase in Iranian Metalwork: Formulation and Realization of a Style. Ann Arbor. cat. 17.
  • Assadullah Souren Melikian-Chirvani. Four Pieces of Islamic Metalwork: Some Notes on a Previously Unknown School. vol. 10, December 1976. pp. 25-26, figs. 4-5.
  • Najmieh Batmanglij. From Persia to Napa: Wine at the Persian Table. Washington. p. 33.
  • Art et Societe dans le Monde Iranien. Bibliotheque Iranienne, no. 26 Paris. p. 165.
  • Dr. Esin Atil, W. Thomas Chase, Paul Jett. Islamic Metalwork in the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington, 1985. cat. 26, p. 186.
  • October Events at the Smithsonian: Smithsonian Highlights. vol. 16, no. 7 Washington, October 1985. p. 225.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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