Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Pottery Shard Has Verse from the Rubaiyat

A fragment of turquoise and black pottery from the Middle Ages found recently in Jerusalem’s Old City bears verse from the Rubaiyat by Omar Khayyam, an astronomer, mathematician and one of the most famous Persian poets of the medieval period.

The fragment of Persian pottery dates to the Middle Ages (12th-13th centuries CE) and was discovered in an archaeological excavation in the Old City of Jerusalem, prior to construction by a private contractor. It is treated with a turquoise glaze and adorned with floral patterns and a black inscription.

While studying the artifact, Rivka Cohen-Amin of the Israel Antiquities Authority discerned that the inscription on the neck of the vessel is written in Persian. The inscription consists of a line that was taken from one of the Ruyaiyat's quatrains. The inscription, which was translated by Dr. Julia Rabanovich of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, reads: “Was once the embrace of a lover that entreat”.

Here is the complete translation of the quatrain:

This clay pot like a lover once in heat
A lock of hair his senses did defeat
The handle that has made the bottleneck its own seat
Was once the embrace of a lover that entreat.

Click here for the article from ArtDaily.org.

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