A journey to search my soul

This is a blog of my personal collections. The purpose of this blog is to educate myself and public in regards to antiquities especially related to religion and calligraphy. I welcome everyone to input their feedback in this blog which they think would be helpful. I do not watermark the photos in this blog so everyone is free to use them as long as they are not used for illegal and unethical reasons. I appreciate if you could notify me if you plan to use any of the photos here. Enjoy browsing!!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Ancient Artifact Review 101 : Antique Qing Era Islamic Talismanic Taweez Porcelain Plate ( 18th Century)

This is a museum piece of a small plate from Qing Dynasty. It is made in China for Persian market.
The plate is decorated with red foliage around the centre alternating with Arabic calligraphy squibbles. In the centre there is a square box consists of 16 cells filled with Arabic numerals. This square is also known as a magic square or Waqf or "Buduh".
This plate most likely produced for talismanic purpose or Taweez. I do not know exactly what the magic square in this plate represent for but it can be for any reasons such as finding love, opening gate of blessing, curing diseases, etc.
This BUDUH tradition is believed in existence prior to Islam most likely originated from China. From a Chinese literature dated circa 650BCE,  there was a record of identifying 3x3 grid pattern from a turtle shell hence formulating the mystical means to control the water from the river.
This magic square were known to Islamic scholars as early as 7th century due to the contact with the East. Throughout the time, the magic square has evolved and developed to serve for numerous mystical purposes.The magic square started from grid of 4x4, 6x6 & 7x7 and by 19th Century, 100x100 grid is created.

The arabic numerals in the cells look so ambiquous. The look like number ٥  (5) and ١ ١ (11).  The sum on any row or colum will give the same amount which is 32.

The Arabic squibbles around the plate were barely readable however I could see few places with the word الله  ( The God Allah), and few phrases I can almost red it as  لا اله الا الله  ( There is no God except Allah).
Comparing with similar plate displayed in the Islamic Museum Malaysia, those Arabic phrases on the outer rings are verses from Surah II ( The Cow) verse 255-257 followed by testimony of faith and prayers.
There are also 4 distinct Arabic phrases around the magic square. I have to compare it with some plates from the internet to figure out what they are.

لا السيف الا الزالفقر    There is no sword except Zulfikar
لا الفتاح الا علي    There is no conqueror except Ali

When the name of Ali is mentioned, it became clear that this talisman plate is used by the Shiite, either for export to Iran or for Chinese Muslims.

It is important to note that the use of Talisman ( Taweez) is a mystical science or occult and against the teaching of Islam and the mainstream Islamic scholars.

The plate is 100mm diameter.

Check below my other plate
Qing Blue & White Plate
Blue & White Plate
Swatow Plate

Reference :

Mightier than the Sword, Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, page 196

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