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Between and Mortarboard

UMMA Object Specific Fields

Query builder

Jug, narrow neck, single handle, band of decorative inscriptions at shoulder

Accession Number

Jug, narrow neck, single handle, band of decorative inscriptions at shoulder


Artist Nationality

Object Creation Date
10th century - 12th century

Medium & Support
molded terracotta

9 1/4 in. x 6 in. x 6 in. ( 23.5 cm x 15.24 cm x 15.24 cm )

Credit Line
Museum Purchase

Subject matter
The inscription is similar to that of another unglazed jug (U. of Mich #373) which consists of two hestichs in the Tawil meter. Although the first two and last three feet of the barbotine inscription conform to this meter, the middle three do not. There seems to have been a displacement of a few letters here, which caused the break in the meter and also a confusion in the text. Transcription from the jug: (arabic verse)

"A-lam tara ann al-faqr yur[ja lahu al-ghina] al-ladhi yukhsa 'alayhi al-huzal."

"Behold, poverty hopes for wealth, which fears poverty (emaciation)." This reading is rather forced, however. A more likely explanation of the difficulty may be the inadvertent repitition of the seven letters "tara ann al-fa...." When the artist noticed his mistake, he merely continued the inscription, omitting six or seven letters from the original verse. 

The lack of space may have prompted him to use the relative pronoun "al-ladhi" for both the object of the first clause and the subject of the second clause, "wealth". The original verse appears in 'Iqd al-Farid, compiled by Ibn 'Abd Rabbihi (Cairo, 1948-53, v. III, p. 87), who attributes it to 'Ali.

Physical Description

The unglazed jug has a bulbous body with a narrow neck which is half the height of the body. A slight bulging occurs midway up the neck. A handle is joined to the neck below the lip and extends to the shoulder of the body. 

A Naskhi Arabic inscription, worked in barbotine technique against a background of unordered small bosses and open circles, runs around the upper part of the body. 

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type

Collection Area

If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
Arabic scripts
Iranian Islamic pottery styles after the Mongols
Islamic (culture or style)
Samanid pottery styles
jugs (vessels)
pitchers (vessels)

3 Related Resources

Arts from Persia and Iran
(Part of: Ancient and Classical Civilizations)
Before 1492
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved

On display