A large Ilkhanid carved stucco Plaque with geometric kufic inscription Persia, 14th century
of almost square form, carved to one side with inscription, on metal base 57 x 60 x high x 3 cm.
Provenance: French private collection since 1973.
The inscription comprises the shahada.
The earliest extant example of square kufic to survive is on a minaret erected in Ghazna by the Ghanznavid ruler Mas'ud III (r.AD 1098-1115). Most inscriptions of this type contain sacred names or short pious phrases of a general nature. Stucco inscriptions in square kufic were especially popular in Persia during the 13th and 14th Centuries because of its similarity to Phagspa introduced in AD 1269 by the Yuan ruler Qubilay for writing Mongolian, particularly on insignia and seals. These seals were distributed to the Ilkhanids (Blair, S., Islamic Inscriptions, Edinburgh, 1998, pp. 82-88).