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Eight-Pointed Star Tile with a Gazelle

Arts of the Islamic World

On View: Arts of the Islamic World, 2nd floor
In the medieval Iranian world, the deaths of Sufi shaykhs led to the building of tomb complexes; these became sites of veneration as well as spaces for prayer, teaching, and living. Star tiles with figural motifs are not unusual in popular religious complexes of Shica Muslims. This tile, depicting a deer and framed by a border with a luster-painted inscription, would have formed one unit of a star-and-cross tile dado that may have embellished such a Sufi shrine. It includes texts from two poets, the first, unidentified, and the second apparently by the twelfth-century mystic Awhad al-Din Kirmani. The pairing of mystical inscriptions with luster created a shimmering effect that must have greatly enhanced the mystical and sensory experience of the Sufi pilgrim.
MEDIUM Ceramic; fritware, painted in luster and blue over an opaque white glaze
DATES 13th–14th century
PERIOD Ilkhanid Period
DIMENSIONS 8 1/4 x 3/8 x 8 1/4 in. (21 x 1 x 21 cm) mount: 8 1/4 × 8 1/4 × 3/4 in. (21 × 21 × 1.9 cm)  (show scale)
INSCRIPTIONS In Persian, اي رأي تو صحراي أمل پیمودن تا چنـــد بـــر آفتاب گـــل انـدودن گر در دهن شیر شوي بهر طمع آخر نه شکار گور خواهي بودن (This Ruba`i also appears on many other tiles in different museums, one published by Abdullah Ghouchani in " Persian Poems on the Luster Tiles of Takht-I Suleiman".) دي روي تو از لطافت آینۀ روح خواهم که قدمهای خیالت بصبوح در دیده نهم ولي از تیـر مـژه ام ترسم که شود پاي خیالت مجروح (This Ruba`i is from Awhad al-Din Kermani and Appears in his Divan.) في آخر رجب [At the end of [the month] Rajab.] Inscription read by Abdullah Ghouchani. Ay ray-I tu sahra-yi amal paymudan Ta chand bar aftab gil andudan? Gar dar dahan-I sher shavi bahr-I tama` akhir na shikar-I gor khwahi budan? [You have in mind to traverse the field of hope. How long will you besmear the sun with mud? If you go greedily into the mouth of the lion, In the end will you not fall prey to the grave?] Ay roy-I tu az litafat ayina-I ruh Khwaham ki qadamha-yi khayalat ba-sabuh Dar dida kasham vali az tir-I muzha-am Tarsam ki shaved pay-I khayalat majruh. [Your face is so delicate it is a mirror of the spirit. I desire to attract the steps of your image into my eyes with a morning drink, But I fear your image's feet will be wounded By the arrows of my eyelashes.]
CREDIT LINE Gift of the Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc.
PROVENANCE Prior to 1963, provenance not yet documented; by 1963, acquired by Ernest Erickson of New York, NY; December 16, 1986, gift of Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc. to the Brooklyn Museum.
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MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Arts of the Islamic World, 2nd floor
CAPTION Eight-Pointed Star Tile with a Gazelle, 13th–14th century. Ceramic; fritware, painted in luster and blue over an opaque white glaze, 8 1/4 x 3/8 x 8 1/4 in. (21 x 1 x 21 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Ernest Erickson Foundation, Inc., 86.227.71. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 86.227.71_PS2.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 86.227.71_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2008
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