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Plate with Design of Arabic Inscription in Kufic Script

Artist Culture
Samanid period, 874–1000
10th century
Glazed and slip-painted earthenware
Nishapur, Khorasan, Iran, Asia
Current Location
On View, Gallery 120
1 3/4 x 14 7/8 in. (4.4 x 37.8 cm)
Credit Line
Museum Purchase
Public Domain
Object Number
Painted in the long, elegant strokes of Kufic script, this plate's inscription is among the most beautiful examples of calligraphy from the early Islamic period. The elegant inscription decrees that "Planning before work protects you from regret." The plate is one of a group of vessels that admonish the owners and their guests to be assiduous, careful, and virtuous in simple yet profound mottoes by which one might live a good life. The white slip body on which the calligraphy appears is related to Chinese porcelains and stonewares imported to Baghdad, the seat of power and commerce in the early Islamic world. The white slip, or liquefied clay, was painted over the surface of the vessel to mask its coarse body and to suggest coveted Eastern porcelains. Applying ornamental calligraphy to the expansive white surface created designs that were bold and appealing.
- 1951
Heeramaneck Galleries [Nasli M. Heeramaneck (1902–1971) and Alice Strong Arvine Heeramaneck (1910–1993)
], New York, NY [1]

1951 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from Heeramaneck Galleries [2]

[1] Invoice from Heeramaneck Galleries dated December 13, 1951 [SLAM document files].

[2] Minutes of the Administrative Board of Control of the City Art Museum, November 8, 1951.
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