عنوان مقاله [English]
Although Islamic artists were reluctant to represent living creatures in many decorative motifs, especially in the Islamic Medieval Ages, the script formed with human faces, animals, and mythical creatures remains a significant subject in the study of Islamic art and architecture. These scripts are mostly used in metalwork, but there are many examples in pottery decorations, especially in the early Islamic centuries and in Nishapur. So far, no research has been done on figural inscriptions, but researchers have addressed this field when working on other subjects such as talking tree, waq waq motifs, and some special objects. To our knowledge, Richard Ettinghausen’s classification and typologies of the figural inscriptions in the study of a container from the Cleveland Museum, known as the Wade Cup, are the strongest research in this field. The main issue in this article is the study of these inscriptions, regardless of whether they are considered as a kind of recreational scripts or a subset of waq motifs, and by looking at the formation, and thematic and temporal characteristics of the inscriptions one becomes more familiar with possible thoughts of patrons and artists. This study aims to accurately name this type of inscriptions based on the analysis of samples and their origin, themes, and various forms, which in turn helps to find out the reasons for using this type of script. Questions: What is the formal classification of figural inscriptions in non-architectural works at the time of study? What is the figural inscriptions’ meaning in art media such as pottery and metal, and is there a connection between the shape and the idea behind it? A descriptive-analytical approach has been used in this study. All the information was collected from library documents. The statistical population includes pottery and metal objects with figural inscriptions, from the early centuries to the seventh century AH in the Islamic world and the early European samples. Sample selection was done according to the 5 classifications presented in this article and also the introduction of new samples to help reach the research goals. Research results showed that figural inscriptions can be divided into five categories: 1- ornithomorphic, 2- human head, 3- zoomorphic, 4- a hybrid, and 5- animated inscriptions. Ornithomorphic and one of the zoomorphic inscriptions are among the early species, while animated inscriptions are evolved examples. In the study of themes, two main themes, including religious concepts and wishes and prayers related to good fortune, along with two sub-themes, including the signature and name of the artist and special poems were identified. As an interesting point, a correlation between the theme and the form was observed in several figural inscriptions, so that in the wishes and prayers related to inscriptions with the theme of astrology, the constellations with the concept of auspiciousness and astrology in the motifs were observed. Also, in the ornithomorphic inscriptions in Nishapur, a considerable number of vessels had the name "Ahmad" engraved in the center of the vessel. In our opinion, the name Ahmad was chosen as it is one of the Prophet Mohammad's names, and its combination with the bird-like design should be seen as a kind of correspondence between form and theme and the Prophet's ascension to the heavens. Both of these cases mentioned above, show a correlation between the form and theme and thoughts and ideas of the artists. In the Islamic field, due to the greater quantity, diversity, and the possible precedence of Nishapur specimens over the recently introduced specimens in Susa and Basra, Nishapur can be the origin of the use of such portrait inscriptions in the Islamic world. Based on the coins obtained in the Sabz Pushan area and the Tepe Madrasa, the production of these inscriptions in Nishapur dates back to the second half of the second century AH; to the time of the Samanids and most likely to the pre-Samanids.