The inscription around the body reads: al-'izz al-da'im wa al-iqbal wa al-ziyada wa al-n'ima (Perpetual Glory, prosperity, abundance and God's Grace).
When they first appeared on the market at the beginning of the 20th century Raqqa wares were the most sought after of all Islamic pottery. The wonderfully shiny glaze, coupled with an excellent lustre or the most perfect turquoise colour ensured their immediate appeal. This is discussed in full detail by Marilyn Jenkins-Madina (Raqqa Revisited; Ceramics of Ayyubid Syria, New York, 2006). The present elegant vase demonstrates these qualities superbly. It is larger than the majority of Raqqa vases which enables the monumentality of the calligraphy to show through. A similar smaller vase in the Metropolitan Museum has similar calligraphy but not as clearly written (Jenkins-Madina, op.cit, no.MMA38, p.153). A similar vase but with finer calligraphy in a narrower band is in the Ashmolean Museum (L'Orient de Saladin, l'art des Ayyubides, exhibition catalogue, Paris, 2001, no.143, p.159). A further similar example, again slightly smaller, decorated in black but under a clear glaze, is in the Khalili Collection (Ernst J. Grube, Cobalt and Lustre, London, 1994, no.337, pp.292-3).