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No. 14     Bowl with lustre decoration 


Kashan style, 13th century

Fritware painted in lustre

Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, POT 1563


While the bowl’s exterior lustre decoration is modest, its inside contains a complex freeform geometrical pattern. In the centre lies a six-point star with drop-shape units containing birds or animals in the interstices. The finials proceeding from the drops may derive from manuscript illumination. Verses run between these finials. Two from the Shahnameh read: ‘Partake of what you have, then give away. Give not your hard-won to your enemy’ or possibly: ‘Are you distressed? Blame not your enemy.’ The former translation seems more plausible, given the likely use of the bowl in a hospitable setting.



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