The black inscription reads:
al-hurr wa in massahu al-durr (The noble man will always be noble even if hit by harm), a saying attributed to 'Ali.
The inner red inscription reads:
al-hirs 'alaniya al-faqr (Greed is a sign of poverty).
An almost identical bowl containing both the same proverbs in red and black was sold in these Rooms 11 April 2000, lot 235. A further very similar bowl in the National Museum, Teheran (formerly the Iran Bastan Museum) has not only the two bands of red and black inscription, but the outer black band contains the same motto with the addition of the extra word al-yumn (good fortune) at the end (A. Gouchani, Inscriptions on Nishapur Pottery, Tehran, 1986, no.1, p.22). That all three bowls are probably by the same hand is indicated by the fact that all appear to mis-spell the word massahu with a sad rather than a sin. In both other cases there are three dots under the letter, normally an indication of a sin, despite its unusual epigraphy; these are absent in the present bowl.