Plate with Kufic Border, Samarkand, Uzbekistan, 9th-10th cen., 14.75

Islamic Plate: Food For Thought

Calligraphy is prevalent in Islamic Art because the Muslim religion is revealed though sacred scriptures, the Quran, which is believed to be the word of God brought to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel.

Kufic script, named for Kufa, a city in Iraq, is blocky and angular with strong upright strokes that are elongated here to fill the rim of the plate so that the words appear to radiate toward the center.  The inscription reads, “Knowledge, the beginning of it is bitter to taste, but the end is sweeter than honey.”