masterpieces of thirteenth-century Persian miniaturists


One Thousand and One Nights

One Thousand and One Nights (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The decoration of this fine Saljuk

pottery consists mostly of figure subjects, such as horsemen, seated and

standing figures of courtiers and princes, hunting scenes, and sphinxes. Three

of the outstanding bowls in the Schiff collection are decorated with the story

of BahramGur and his lute-player Azadah.


This popular theme

of Persian art is narrated in the epic poem the Shahnamab y

Firdausi. In two of our bowls two consecutive episodes of the story are repre-sented

simultaneously. BahramGur is shown transfixing with a single arrow the hind hoof and

ear of a deer, and the same scene includes the death of Azadah,

who, after making a mockery of BahramGur’s

skill, was thrown from the saddle and trampled to death.


These three bowls in

the Schiff collection are masterpieces of thirteenth-century Persian

miniaturists and are related to contemporary paintings in manu-scripts

of the Baghdad school. Through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. A. Wallace

Chauncey the Museum received as a gift fifteen Persian and Mesopotamian

ceramics and two Syrian enameled glass beakers, from the Henry G. Leberthon



There are three outstanding examples of twelfth-century lusterware

from Rakka with elaborate arabesque designs and decorative writing.

Another im-portant piece is a thirteenth-century albarello

with painted decoration in white and gold on a cobalt blue background.


The albarello

shape, which originated in the East, was adopted later by Italian potters.

Several examples of later Persian ware of the sixteenth and seventeenth

centuries belong to the so-called Kubatcha group, with

decoration consisting of plants and figures in monochrome or polychrome. This

ware, although found in Kubatcha in the Cau-casus,

should be regarded as Persian and was probably made in the region of Tabriz.







Photographic memories

Madness Over Matter

old photo

Anyone with clinical depression who has been told to ‘think positive’ and ‘remember the good times’ will know the creepy, forced smile you offer the purveyor of said well meaning sentiments. Because trying to explain to anyone that actually has access to the happy part of their brain that you don’t really want to be miserable, you’ve just lost the ability to feel good, is like being repeatedly slapped in the face with a trout.

Depression is a negativity dump truck, unloading its toxic cargo of sad thoughts, self doubt and unpleasant memories into your cranium every hour of the day. The reason sufferers can’t just focus on happy thoughts is that, temporarily, they don’t exist. All that was once joyful and light has been squirrelled away deep in the annals of your consciousness, to be uncovered once depression’s done playing it’s sick and twisted game. Sometimes it’s impossible to…

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Of Making Many Books, There is No End — or Reward?


“Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.”

Ecclesiastes 12

From the Beginning

It was that way right from the beginning, I’m sure. Carvers in stone, makers of runes,  scribes in papyrus and parchment, right up to workaday paper — Hebrew, Greek, Latin, English — Making books is weary WORK, not glamour. Don’t take my word for it; here is Gabriel Garcia Marquezauthor of, among many other long works, One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera:

 “Ultimately literature is nothing but carpentry. Both are very hard work. Writing something is almost as hard as making a table. With both you are working with reality, a material just as hard as wood. Both are full of tricks and techniques. Basically very little magic and a lot of hard work involved.”

Carpentry! But people persist in regarding writing…

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Stephen King’s No Joy In E-Book Land

Falls Into Writing

As I’m gearing up to self-publish with both e-book and paperback options, the news breaks today that Stephen King has made the decision to not provide an e-book option for his upcoming book Joyland. In today’s digital age where authors like Neil Gaiman are pushing for change in order to keep up rather than to go extinct, it’s either a bold move or a big financial mistake.

The decision to not include an e-book at all for Joyland makes readers have to purchase the physical book, which is King’s ultimate motive. In a move that shows support for brick-and-mortar stores, the book is available for pre-order as a paperback on Amazon, but a reader can purchase a limited hardback edition through Titan Books. So that may change things slightly as he is not treating the release in the traditional way. Now he’s making the hardback a limited…

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