Bowl with Courtly and Astrological Motifs

Object Name: Bowl

Date: late 12th–early 13th century

Geography: Attributed to Central or Northern Iran

Medium: Stonepaste; polychrome inglaze and overglaze painted and gilded on opaque monochrome glaze (mina'i)

Dimensions: H. 3 3/4 in. (9.5 cm)
Diam. 7 3/8 in. (18.7 cm)
Wt. 14 oz. (396.9 g)

Classification: Ceramics

Credit Line: Purchase, Rogers Fund, and Gift of The Schiff Foundation, 1957

Accession Number: 57.36.4


The figures and decoration on the interior of this bowl combine imagery of the courtly cycle and astronomy. In the center the sun is surrounded by personifications of the planets (clockwise) Mars, Mercury, Venus, the moon, Saturn, and Jupiter. Islamic astronomers believed the planets orbited the earth, forming seven concentric circles. An eighth, outer sphere contained the constellations and signs of the zodiac, possibly represented by the six large and twelve small gold circles between the planets’ heads.