Historical period(s)
Samanid period, 10th century
Earthenware painted under glaze
H x W x D: 11.2 x 39.3 x 39.3 cm (4 7/16 x 15 1/2 x 15 1/2 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 03: Engaging the Senses: Art in the Islamic World
Ceramic, Vessel


earthenware, flower, Iran, Islam, kufic script, Samanid period (819 - 1005)
Provenance research underway.

This deep bowl exemplifies the high technical quality and compositional sophistication achieved in 10th-century ceramics from northeastern Iran. Its central decoration consists of an abstract tree with five branches ending in palmettes and revolving around a small rosette. The dominant counter-clockwise movement of the stems is subtlely reversed by a branch to the trunk's left--a shift that ingeniously draws attention to the ovoid mark at the beginning of the Arabic inscription below. This inscription is bordered at the rim by a band of red and black scallops and on the walls by a series of irregular panels following the contours of the letters. It translates as follows: "It is said that he is content with his own opinion runs into danger. Blessing to the owner."

Published References
  • Sheila Blair. Text and Image in Medieval Persian Art. Edinburgh Studies in Islamic Art Edinburgh. .
  • Sekai bijutsu zenshu [A Complete Collection of World Art]. 40 vols., Tokyo, 1960-1966. vol. 22: pl. 18.
  • Annemarie Schimmel. Islamic Calligraphy. Iconography of Religions, fasc. 1 Leiden. pl. 7A.
  • Oriental Ceramics: The World's Great Collections. 12 vols., Tokyo. vol. 10, pl. 262.
  • O. Graber. The Formation of Islamic Art. New Haven. pl. 112.
  • Atif Toor. Islamic Culture. Discovering the Arts Vero Beach, Florida. cover.
  • Oleg Grabar. The Meditation of Ornament. Princeton. pp. 12-13, fig. 5.
  • Richard Ettinghausen. Medieval Near Eastern Ceramics in the Freer Gallery of Art. Washington and Baltimore. p. 13.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. Humor and Wit in Islamic Art. vol. 7 New York, Fall 1994. pp. 14-15, fig. 2.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. Exhibition of 2500 Years of Persian Art. Exh. cat. Washington, 1971. cat. 63, pp. 19-20.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. Ceramics from the World of Islam. Exh. cat. Washington, 1973. cat. 12, pp. 36-37.
  • The 39th Annual Washington Antiques Show. p. 57, fig. 4.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. Islamic Art in the Freer Gallery. vol. 3, no. 3, Autumn 1985. p. 59, fig. 6.
  • Volkmar Enderlein. Islamische Kunst. Dresden. p. 74.
  • Fu Shen, Glenn D. Lowry, Ann Yonemura, Thomas Lawton. From Concept to Context: Approaches to Asian and Islamic Calligraphy. Exh. cat. Washington. cat. 37, pp. 106, 112-113.
  • Ideals of Beauty: Asian and American Art in the Freer and Sackler Galleries. Thames and Hudson World of Art London and Washington, 2010. pp. 128-129.
  • Jangar Ya. Ilyasov. A Celebrated Bowl in the Freer Gallery: Nishapur, Samarqand or Tashkent? no. 65 Stuttgart. p. 158, figs. 1-2.
  • Dr. Esin Atil. Exhibition of Islamic Pottery at the Freer Gallery of Art. London, March 1974. p. 221, fig. 4.
  • Richard Ettinghausen, O. Graber. The Art and Architecture of Islam, 650-1250. The Pelican History of Art Hammondsworth, Middlesex, England and New York. p. 230, fig. 239.
  • Sheila Blair, Jonathan M. Bloom. Islamic Arts. Art and Ideas London. pp. 248-9, fig. 133.
  • The Arts of Persia. New Haven and London. p. 257, fig. 5.
  • Jangar Ya. Ilyasov, SR Ilyasova, PA Imamberdiev, EA Ishakova. "«Нет блага в богатстве…» Глазурованная керамика Ташкентского оазиса IX–XII веков." "There is no good in wealth ..." Glazed pottery of the Tashkent oasis of the 9th-12th centuries. p. 581, fig. 107.
Collection Area(s)
Arts of the Islamic World
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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