Sunday, August 9, 2009
Samanid Epigraphic Pottery
Yes, I just learned the name for this style of ware from Wikipedia. This piece comes from Iran or thereabouts and dates from the 10th century. The inscription says "planning before work protects you from regret", and the script is so beautiful I want to eat it, or at least eat something off of the platter that it decorates. Apparently, the most typical inscriptions found on this kind of dish are proverbs, or otherwise something having to do with advocating or describing a correct approach to the consumption or sharing of food. What I like in this case, is that while it fulfills the proscriptive, "correct way to live" message to the viewer, it also self-reflexively calls attention to the mastery of its maker, by virtue of the perfection of the spacing of the characters around the perimeter of the dish, which could only have come about because the hand that wrote it was so adept. A nice marriage of message and medium, I'd say.