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HOME : Islamic Art : AS Collection 4 : Bronze Rose Water Sprinkler
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Bronze Rose Water Sprinkler - LO.678
Origin: Central Asia
Circa: 1100 AD to 1200 AD
Dimensions: 5.50" (14.0cm) high
Collection: Islamic Art
Medium: Quarternary Bronze

Additional Information: AS

Location: Great Britain
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This perfume flask (qumqum) has a globular body, a tall splayed cylindrical foot, an almost flat shoulder, narrow neck and tall straight mouth, while the base plate is flat. Around the mouth are six bosses.These hemispherical knobs moulded on the upper cylindrical rim are reminiscent of Sasanian-style silver ware from Tabarestan and later became more rectangular in shape. On the foot small rombhoids are incised , while the shoulder features a register of key- frets, the body with vertical rectangular panels in calligraphic script against a foliate background, interspersed with elongated cartouches with foliage motifs.

The form is among one of the many found in Transoxiana during the Early Islamic period. Its origin appears to be the common Sasanian silver bottle, of which examples are to be found in Perm, Baku and Kharkov. Very often these vessels have bosses around the neck, as in this case, although here the neck is further embellished with two rows of key-frets

This bottle was probably made of high tin bronze- an alloy of copper and about 20 per cent tin. This alloy was known in early Islamic times as asfidroy, literally 'white copper' and was used for bowls, stem bowls, dishes, ewers and candlesticks. amongst the particular properties of high tin bronze is that it can be red-hot forged, like iron, and if quenched, becomes reasonably malleable when cold. If permitted to cool slowly than hammered, it shatters. Three centres of quarternary bronze manufacture are recorded in Islamic texts of the 10th-11th centuries: Rabinjian near Bukhara, Hamadan in western Persia and Sistan province in eastern Persia. Transoxiana, i.e. Eastern Persia and Afghanistan, provided the inspiration for the Hamadan industry as well and kept on producing high-tin copper alloy vessel well into the 13th century, although with less originality than before.

The quality of engraving and the patterns featured on this water sprinkler, such as the dotted circles on the neck, would seem to indicate a 12th-13th centuries dating and a Transoxiana provenance.

A very similar rosewater sprinkler can be seen in the David Collection in Copenhagen, cf. von Folsach, K. Art from the World of Islam, 2001: p.310, no. 491 - (LO.678)


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