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Bowl with figure with goblet, 10th century, Nishapur, Eastern Persia
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

A larger image of this bowl with figure with goblet, 10th century, Nishapur, Eastern Persia. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 38.40.290.

Photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen
Object Name: Bowl
Date: 10th century
Geography: Excavated in Iran, Nishapur
Medium: Earthenware; polychrome decoration under transparent glaze (buff ware)
Dimensions: H. 3 5/8 in. (9.2 cm)
Diam. 7 7/8 in. (20 cm)
Classification: Ceramics
Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1938
Accession Number: 38.40.290

Common among the buff ware bowls that depict human figures are those holding drinking vessels. In this case, a man wearing a green tunic under a multi-colored, skirt-like garment holds a fluted goblet in his right hand. The imagery on these bowls is thought to derive from metalwork of the Sasanian period (3rd to 7th century) in Iran. The distinctive yellow and green glazes of the buff ware group are particularly well-preserved on this example.
Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

D 30, H 9.2 cm ; exact provenance unknown
MMA 38.40.290
In all of these bowls the significance of the figures remains uncertain. Something more may be intended in 59 than a representation of the simple act of drinking: perhaps a symbolic quaffing of wine, a ceremony with a long history among the pre-Islamic Turks, Scythians, and Islamic Turks (Esin, Ars Orientalis V, p. 152, fig. 8; Iakubovski. Paintings of Ancient Pendzhikent, pl. x; Sarre, Die Kunst des Alten Persien pl. 109).
Source: p. 19 in Nishapur: Pottery of the Early Islamic Period by Charles K. Wilkinson
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Back to Bowls with figures from Nishapur, Kurasan, Iran, 9th-10th centuries, Saffarid-Samanid period
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