One of the greatest cities in medieval Iran was Nishapur, located in the eastern province of Khurasan. Founded during the Sasanian dynasty (and given the title of New Shapur) the city became the capital of the Tahirid dynasty in the 9th century and reached the height of its prosperity under the Samanids in the 10th century, when it served as the seat of the governor and commander in chief of the province.
Nishapur retained its importance under the Seljuqs, after its occupation by the first sultan of this Turkic dynasty in 1037. It was sacked by the Ghuzz in 1153 and damaged in a series of earthquakes in the 12th and 13th centuries, yet it remained an active urban centre until its itter destruction by the Mongols in 1221.
The great poet and mathematician 'Umar Ibn Ibrahim Al-Khayyam was born in or near Nishapur at an unknown date, but he was already famous as a mathematician in I074, when MALIK SHAH invited him to reform the Iranian calendar. He seems to have spent most of his life in Nishapur and he died there; the most probable date of his death is 526.
Nishapur Ceramics (Images)
Bowls including bold black inscriptions in the so-called kufic angular calligraphy were apparently produced in the important ceramic centers of Nishapur in eastern Iran, and Afrasiyab, or Old Samarqand, in present-day Uzbekistan. The text often contains a proverb in Arabic or, as in this case, a series of wishes: "Blessing, happiness, prosperity, good health, and success."