Lecture 3 (a):
"Functions of Literary Epigraphy on
Medieval Islamic Ceramics"
by Dr Oya Pancaroglu


Appendix: A Preliminary List of Proverbs
from Samanid Epigraphic Pottery


A. Generosity and the Nature of Wealth:
1. Generosity is a quality of the people of paradise.
2. Generosity and paradise are for the pious; unbelief and greed are for the children of hell.
3. Generosity is not just giving money from excess, but rather sharing with the poor.
4. Generosity does not consume wealth before it is exhausted, and greed will not increase a miser’s wealth.
5. Generosity is the guardian of honor and property.
6. Greed is a sign of depravity.
7. It is said that wealth is what you spend, not what you collect, and crops are what you harvest, not what you sow.
8. Since wealth is bound to disappear, the best wealth is that which bestows praise on its owner.
9. Praise will remain for the valorous as his provision, but wealth does not remain for the owners.
10. The most honorable of riches is the abandonment of desire.
11. As for the generous man, even when his situation changes, his heart remains noble.
12. You can deceive the generous man with intrigues; beware of the miser because he is experienced and will not be deceived.
13. The miser sees only one purpose for his wealth, but the generous man sees many purposes for his wealth.
14. He who believes in recompense is generous in giving.
15. The valorous one gives not only in prosperity, but in adversity and prosperity alike.
16. Be sincere to generous men and loathe greed…
B. Other Types of Virtuous Conduct:
17. Whoever wears modesty as his garment, his faults are hidden from the eye.
18. Preserve your modesty for it points to the action of the noble man.
19. Humility is a branch of faith, and faith is in paradise.
20. It is said that those who are content with their own opinion run into danger.
21. Surely he who jests to excess is degraded in his worth.
22. He who is patient will prevail.
23. Patience is the key to peace of mind.
24. [Have] patience before [forming] an opinion.
25. He who is satisfied with his means is satisfied with his condition.
26. Deliberation before action protects you from regret.
27. Deliberation in speech is wisdom, and speaking after deliberation is more beautiful.
28. A foolish person wastes his opportunity, and when he neglects a matter, he blames fate.
29. The thankful eater is comparable to the patient faster.
30. He who talks too much is quick to falter.
31. Safety lies in silence, and only speech will reveal the inner side of the man with faults.
32. The speech of he who speaks is silver, but silence is a ruby gem.
33. The noble man is free even if touched by harm.
34. The noble man does not break promises.
35. The noble man is righteous.
36. Loyalty is a habit practiced by few, but self-protection is an emotion experienced by many.
37. Devotion fortifies actions.
38. Knowledge is the most honorable of values.
39. Knowledge is an ornament for the valorous and reason is a crown of gold.
40. The pleasure of one learned man with another is like the pleasure of a student.
41. Knowledge is bitter to taste at first, but in the end it is sweeter than honey.
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