‘Eat in it with enjoyment and fulfilment’
Tablewares such as this bowl were made by a potter who coated the red clay of the dish with a thin layer of pure white clay known as ‘slip’. Ornamental Arabic calligraphy was subsequently painted around the rim of the dish or often in a single line across the centre and often alluded to the function of the dish. Oliver Watson describes eastern Persian slip-painted wares as, at their best, ‘some of the most impressive ceramics ever made in the Islamic world. Of the simplest materials, they are most beautifully made – enormous bowls, precisely thrown and turned to a thinness rarely matched elsewhere in earthenwares, with a purity of colour and texture of slip and glaze, and a ringing tautness when fired; they are breathtaking to handle’ (O. Watson, Ceramics from Islamic Lands, The Al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait National Museum, 2004, p.205). This bowl can be associated with wares from Nishapur and Afrasiyab (old Samarqand), two renowned centres of production of fine slip-painted wares during the tenth and eleventh centuries.