Lot 139. A large Nishapur calligraphic pottery bowl, Persia or Central Asia, 10th century; 10.5cm. height, 34.3cm. diam. Estimate 30,000 — 40,000 GBP (34,824 - 46,432 EUR). Unsold. Courtesy Sotheby's.
of deep conical form, decorated in dark brown on a slip-painted ground with four Kufic calligraphic inscriptions under the rim and point to centre, plain exterior.
inscriptions: ‘Modesty is a branch of faith and faith is’
Slip-painted bowls with calligraphic decoration such as this are thought to have been inspired by silverware. With their conical form, straight sides, wide flat foot and black on white colour scheme recalling niello on burnished silver, the ceramic dishes echo the few extant examples of Central Asian silverwork produced for the ruling elite. The bold and geometric Kufic inscriptions that typify this group are elegantly executed with a brush and then tidied up along the edges with a palette knife. The ground is kept pristine white to show the calligraphy to greatest effect.
Sotheby's. Arts of the Islamic World including Fine Rugs and Carpets, London, 01 May 2019, 10:30 AM.