Bowl Emulating Chinese Stoneware, 9th century, Iraq, probably Basra. Earthenware; painted in blue on opaque white glaze. H. 2 3/8 in. (6 cm). Diam. 8 in. (20.3 cm). Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1963. Accession Number: 63.159.4 © 2000–2016 The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Ceramics such as this bowl are among the first examples to incorporate calligraphy as the main element of decoration. The Iraqi potters of the ninth century attempted to emulate the luminous quality and hard body of Chinese whitewares by using a tin‑opacified white glaze. The Arabic word ghibta (happiness) is repeated twice in cobalt blue at the center.