Monday, December 1, 2008

Islamic Platters

I've been looking at these platters recently. I saw a picture of a similar platter a year or two ago and was just floored by it. I can't remember which book it was in but the other day that platter came to mind and I just had to find some images to look at. There's something so alluring about them. The Arabic sayings that are painted around the circumference are so stark and intentional. There is a beautiful simplicity to the stylized script. The one above is from the 10th century and is a serious 18 inches wide! These are all Central Asian from Nishapur or Samarqand.

This one (below) says, "Whoever talks a lot, slips a lot." This one (again below) says, "Frugality is a symptom of poverty." At first that seems pretty obvious. But what's the deeper meaning? It comes off as if frugality is a negative, perhaps poverty is a positive state of being. hmm...


stevencolby said...


What you say about the calligraphic Arabic banding is true. I love how the brushwork can not be dismissed as decoration or embellishment, it must be viewed as content.
And "Whoever talks a lot, slips a lot..." makes me think twice about commenting on blogs.

Thanks for posting these.

mahanpots said...

Makes me want to learn calligraphy.

I was showing my wife the pictures, and she noticed the swastika inside the knot in the middle of one of the plates. I had missed it.

Of course, the swastika is an ancient symbol. According to Wikipedia, it meant life, sun, power, strength and good luck.

Mothra said...

I didn't notice that swastika either, just the knot.
And yeah, these platters really make me appreciate calligraphy.