Nishapur Painted Ware’s Content Readout with Focus on Apocalyptic Beliefs and Astronomical Predictions

Document Type : تاریخ هنر خراسان بزرگ


The wide array of decorations on the Nishapur ceramic vessels has instigated several analyses taking a variety of approaches. These studies mainly hinge on exploring the forms of the motifs, though some also seek to analyze their content. Those concerned with the formal analysis have focused on examining the visual origins of the motifs in ancient Iran and neighboring cultures as well as other religions and the like. As regards the content, decoding the underlying ideological import of the motifs has always been emphasized. The main concern of the present work was exploring painting or the function of the motifs on a piece of ceramic vessel from Nishapur .The results suggested that, granting that the Nishapur Animate Buff Ware postdated the inscribed variety or that its production witnessed an upsurge in the 4th century AH (10th century AD), the vessel under discussion, and also the painted type in general, may be viewed as a medium intended to promote the Iranian culture. This observation, also applying to the related examples of this ware, gives credence to the general scholarly conception of the motifs of Nishapur ware. However, their original function and stimulus are to be found in the second layer. The results from the analysis of the vessel in question suggested that in the dove and goat motifs one can find some details of the apocalyptic beliefs and astronomical prognostications. Here, dove and goat are probably something more than mere reflection of the pre-Islamic ideas. Rather, through a combination of apocalyptic beliefs and astronomic predictions, they convey the message of the resurrection of one or a group of redeemers at the conjunction of the earthly triplicity in the sign of Capricorn, which occurred at the beginning of the 5th century AH/11th century AD, and Abu Moslem Khorasani was probably one of those saviors.