Symbolic Numerical, Geometrical and Animal Concepts Analysis in a Pottery of Nishapur (with Emphasis on Religious Themes of the Fourth Century AH)

Document Type : تاریخ هنر خراسان بزرگ


Having a policy of leniency and tolerance, Samanid Empire, ruling over Khorasan, and led to thought freedom atmosphere and the emergence of various schools of thought and religious sects. Conceptual-semantic matching of a branch of Shia, Ismailism, as one of the most dominant sects in Khorasan and Nishapur, (in comparison with the other contemporaneous religions) with concealed numerical-geometric forms at Nishapur pottery collection can be obviously seen after analysis and decoding of motifs in 4th century AH buffwares. Due to the presence of some veins of Zoroastrianism and Manichaean religion in Ismailism, Nishapur art from 4th century AH is directly impressed by Sassanid era designs. This paper with qualitative method and Analytical-descriptive approach studies hidden mysterious concepts in geometry, numbers and motifs present in one pottery relic. Among allegory varieties existing in Ismailism sect and specifically in Akhavan Al-Safa’s views, application and adaptation of numeral allegories and esoteric thinker’s usage of allegory processing capacity of religions such as Zoroastrianism, with mentioned relic designs and motifs will be addressed in present study. The main evaluation of this big bowl was, indeed, circular form and concentricity circles, triangular and especially number three’s quasi-triangular relations leading to triplex structures naming as “triads” reviewing and discussing under symbolic analysis of number three. After scrutinizing, numeral symbolic concepts, which was hidden inside of its designs and similar to the inward-oriented characteristic in Ismailism, were considered as infrastructural elements and a determination of fundamental motif of relic. Finally, taking Akhavan analysis of number and geometry into account, numbers primacy and secret geometry, resulting in detecting the quasi-triangular relations, can be considered as a basic for the movement from perceptibility to rationality and from the materiality to spirituality and hence connecting to Lord showing by a centric point and triangular in mentioned relic.