Neyshabour Potteries

With the advent of Islam , the art of pottery mnufacture become one of the most important and popular crafts in almost all parts of Iran , and Islamic potters , with special initiative, following the old traditions and inspirations of local custom, established many pottery centres and produced many types of pottery . The development of Islamic pottery in famous cities such as Kashan , Rayy, Jurjan, Sultanieh and Nishabur over the centuries, has shown that the Iranian potter was always ahead of the rest of the Islamic World, with new types, ideas, and designs. Among the centres in Iran , the name of Nishabur brings to the beautiful slip - brown on white and the polychrome wares of the Early Islamic period.
During this period , eastern cities in Iran such as Merv/Marw, Samarqand ,Bukhara and Nishabur excavations of the city of Nishabur , by the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art in the past, and more recently by the Iranian Centre for Archaelogical Research , have resulted in the discovery of different types of Islamic pottery kilns. Among the different types of Earl Islamic Pottery from Nishabur, the so-called " dark-brown on whithe ” decorated wares are particulary interesting. These types of slip-pained ware, which usually belong to the 9-10 th centuries A.D., can be regarded as masterpieces of Early Islamicpotter, and probably orginated at Nishabur. The decoration of the type of pottery consists both of Kufic inscription, and sometimes simply of decorative Kufic.
The inscription on Nishabur pottery have always posed problems to art historians and specialists of Islamic pottery , and with few exceptions, little research has been carried out on them. The author of the present book, Mr.Abdullah Ghouchani, a member of the Islamic Department of the Iran Bastan Museum, following five years of research has succeeded in deciphering many of these inscriptions. He has tried to find out to whom these inscriptions belong, and is of the opinion that these inscription were written by using a kind of mould made of some flexible materiale.g., leather, besides occasionally being written by hand. His task was made more difficult because of the similarity of many letters to each other ( w ) for ( f ,q and m ) . ( d ) for ( dh and k ). The calligrapher, or the potters, thus produced many similar forms for different letters. This style also was common in the calligraphy of the Holy Quran during the Early Islamic Period ( for example, pls. “ 1, 3, 9, 11, 14, 29, 30 & c. “ which are written on pottery ; and pls. A and B ( in the persian Introduction ) , showing comparable script used for the Holy Quran ).
The present publication presents 140 objects from Nishabur, assembled form different Collection: the Iran Bastan Museum, the Abgineh va Soffalineh Museum, the Reza Abbasi Museum, a few museums abroad, and private collections. The inscriptions mainly consist of aphorisms of the prophet MUHAMMAD and IMAM ALI, in addition to addition to proverbs of early Arabic philosophers and learned persons, These are :
3 Hadith of the prophet MUHAMMAD.
11 Sayings of IMAM ALI IBN ABI TALIB.
2 proverbs of HATAM AL- TA’I .
1 proverb of AKTHAM IBN SAYFI.
1 proverb of YAHYA IBN ZIYAD.
1 proverb of UBAYD IBN AL-ABRAS, ABU’L -RARJ AL- MAKHZUMI ABIR IBN RA’LAN AL-SUNBUSI.
40 proverbs, author unknown
Mr.Ghouchani’s book on the calligraphy of the Nishabur wares is the first publication on this subject, and has, therefore, great value for scholars of Islamic art. The value relates to the decoration of the pottery, religion, calligraphy, ways of thinking, and the social ralationships among different people in the Early Islamic Period.
While congratulating Mr.Ghouchani on the publication of his book, we hope that he will continue in the future his valuable research into that art and architectural calligraphy of Islamic Iran.