Iranian Brass Medicine Bowl Inscribed with Verses from the Qur'an
Brass bowl with a small rim. Not perfectly round, lots of dents and cracker. Interior of bowl has a small “bump” at the center that has a hole in it. Verses from the Qur’an etched into the bowl on the inside and outside.
Jim and Virginia Goode have an over 50 year-long relationship with the Middle East. For Virginia, it began as a camping trip from Bombay to London, and for Jim an adventure with the Peace Corp, teaching English in Tuyserkan, a small Iranian town. They met and married in Tehran in 1972 and continued their journey of love and admiration for the people, cultures, and landscapes of the region. Over their years living and visiting a number of countries including Iran, Jim specialized in the history of American foreign relations and wrote a number of books specific to the US-Iran relations.
In 1986, they made the long journey to GVSU’s Allendale campus where Jim founded the Middle East studies program and set up a number of faculty-led study abroad programs for students. In 2018, the GVSU Art Gallery worked along with the Goodes to tell their story and highlight a wide variety of ceramics, rugs, textiles, and many other everyday objects they acquired over the years in an exhibit titled, “Afghanistan to Morocco: Journeys of Jim and Virginia Goode.”
Iranian copper bowls come in a number of shapes and sizes with a wide variety of decorations. This bowl has multiple verses of the Qur’an hammered into the interior of the bowl in Arabic script, a form of vessel often called a divination bowl. These bowls bring medicine and religion together with the belief that drinking water from the bowl would bring the healing powers of the Qur’an through the water into the drinker’s body and soul. This act of drinking from Qur’anic verses is called kombe.