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  • Place of origin:

    Afghanistan (probably, made)
    Herat (probably, made)

  • Date:

    06/10/1461-25/09/1462 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Habiballah ibn 'Ali Baharjani (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Brass (copper alloy), cast, engraved decoration with silver wire inlay. It may also have been inlaid with a black material, which has been lost.

  • Museum number:

    943:1 to 3-1886

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This pot-bellied jug is a type of drinking vessel. It was popular in Iran and other parts of the Middle East in the later Middle Ages. A typical example had a globular body resting on a foot ring, a wide, cylindrical neck and a dragon-shaped handle. Examples made in luxury materials such as silver gilt and jade show that these types of vessels were used in courtly circles.
This example belongs to a less spectacular but equally interesting group. They are made of brass, with all-over decoration of horizontal bands. Much of the work is in silver inlay. The bands are filled with texts in Arabic and Persian, and small repeating patterns not unlike those found in manuscript decoration of the time. The Arabic texts are on the neck, the base and under the foot ring. They contain blessings for the owner, such as 'May its owner enjoy happiness, peace and long life so long as the turtle-dove coos ...'. The Persian inscriptions are on the body. They consist of two lyrics by the poet Hafiz of Shiraz, who lived in the 14th century. These lyrics contain references to the drinking of wine, such as 'What combination is more pleasant than a feast, good company, a garden and springtime? Where is the boy to serve the drink? Tell me, why are we waiting? ...'. On the base there is a signature giving the date 866 in the Muslim calendar (866 began in October 1461). It also gives the name of the maker, Habiballah ibn (son of) 'Ali Baharjani, who signed several other similar pieces.

Physical description

Cast brass jug with inlaid decoration including Arabic and Persian inscriptions, signed by Habiballah son of Ali Baharjani, Herat, Afghanistan, dated 866H, 1461-62

Place of Origin

Afghanistan (probably, made)
Herat (probably, made)


06/10/1461-25/09/1462 (made)


Habiballah ibn 'Ali Baharjani (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Brass (copper alloy), cast, engraved decoration with silver wire inlay. It may also have been inlaid with a black material, which has been lost.

Marks and inscriptions

li-SaaHibihi al-sa3aadah wa'l-salaamah / wa-Tuul al-3umr maa naaHat Hamaamah / wa 3izz daa!im laa dhull fiihi / wa-!iqbaal
To its owner happiness and well-being, and life that lasts as long as the turtle-dove coos, and enduring glory with no shame in it, and good fortune.
Inscription on neck, in Arabic verse, the last line incomplete. Transliteration follows Komaroff's reading (1992, p.156).

Sahar-am dowlat-e bidâr be-bâlin âmad.
Goft, Bar khiz ke ân khosrow-e shirin âmad.

Qadahi dar kash o khwosh khwosh be-tamâshâ bekherâm,
tâ to bini

Mozhdegâni bedeh, ey khalvati-yi nâfe-goshây,
ke ze sahrâ-ye Khotan âho-ye [moshgin] âmad.

Gerye âbi be-rokh-i sukhtegân bâz âvord.
Nâle faryâd-ras-i 'âsheq-e meskin âmad

Morgh-e del bâz havâdâr-e kamân-abru'ist.
Ey kabutar, negarân bâsh ke shâhin âmad.

Sâqiyâ, bâde bedeh. Gham makhwor az doshman o dust
ke be-kâm-i del-e mâ ân beshod u in âmad.

Rasm-e bad-'ahdi-ye eyyâm cho did abr-e bahâr
gerye-ash bar saman u sonbol o nasrin âmad

Chu sabâ gofte-ye Hâfez beshenid az bolbol
'anbar-afshân be-tamâshâ-ye rayâhin âmad.
At dawn fortune, wide awake, came to my pillow.
Arise, she said, for that sweet sovereign [of yours] has arrived.

Drink up your cup [of wine] and sway along merrily to the spectacle,
So you may see in what fashion your idol has come.

Hey, you recluse who opens the musk-gland, reward me for my good news -
The musk-scented deer has come from the desert of Khotan.

Tears have brought a glow back to the cheeks of those burnt up [by passion].
Groans have come, bringing relief to the wretched lover.

The bird of the heart is again infatuated with a bow-browed [beauty].
Watch out, you dove. The falcon has arrived.

Hey, cupbearer, give me a drink. Let no friend or foe cause you grief,
For, to match our heart's desire, one went, and another came.

When the springtime cloud saw with what bad faith the times behaved,
Its tears fell upon jasmine and hyacinth and wild rose.

When the zephyr heard the words of Hafiz from the nightingale,
It came, scenting the air with ambergris, to gaze at the sweet herbs.
This text is found in the four bands inscribed in Persian around the body of the vessel -- it fills the top and bottom bands. The text is an ode (ghazal) by Khwajah Hafiz Shirazi (died about 1390), the greatest lyric poet in Persian. The text given follows the reading by Melikian-Chirvani (1982, pp.249-50). The translation follows Charles-Henri de Fouchécour (Hâfez de Chiraz, Le Divan, Paris, 2006, no.172).

Khwoshtar ze 'eysh o sohbat o bâgh u bahâr chist?
Sâqi kojâst? Gu, sabab-i entezâr chist?

Har vaqt-e khwosh ke dast dehad moghtanam shomâr.
Kas-râ voquf nist ke anjâm-e kâr chist.

d-e 'omr baste be-mu'ist. Hush dâr.
Gham-khwâr-e khwish bâsh. Gham-e ruzgâr chist?

Ma'nâ-ye âb-e zandegiy u rowze-yi Eram
joz tarf-e rudbâr o mey-i khwosh-govâr chist?

Mastur o mast har do cho az yak qabile and,
mâ del be-'eshve-yi ke dehim? Ekhtiyâr chist?

Râz-i darun-e parde che dârad falak? Khamush!
Ey modde'i, nezâ'-e to bâ pardedâr chist?

Jowr u jafâ-ye yâr agar-ash e'tebâr nist.
Ma'nâ-ye 'afv o rahmat o ejrâ-ye kâr chist?

Zâhed sharâb-e Kowsar o Hâfez piyâle khwâst.
Tâ dar miyâne khwâste-yi Kerdegâr chist?
What is sweeter than making merry in good company and gardens in spring?
Where is the potboy? Ask why we are waiting.

Every pleasant moment that comes your way count as a precious prize.
No-one is allowed to know how matters will turn out.

Beware: the link of life is tied by a single hair.
Be your own sympathetic friend, for what commiseration does the world offer?

What meaning have the Water of Life and the Garden of Iram
Except the banks of a stream and wine that goes down smoothly?

Since the sober one and the drunk one are both the same in kind,
At the flutter of whose eyelid shall we give away our hearts? What choice is there?

What secret beyond the [palace] curtain do the heavens know? Silence!
Hey, suitor, what dispute have you with the guard at the curtain[ed door]?

If the cruelty and nastiness of the one we love count for nothing,
what meaning have forgiveness and compassion and retribution?

The ascetic has asked for a draught from Kawthar, and Hafez for a cup [of wine].
So what is the Creator's preference between the two?
Like the previous text, this poem is found in the four bands inscribed in Persian around the body of the vessel -- it fills the middle two bands. The text is a second ghazal by Khwajah Hafiz Shirazi. The text given follows the reading by Melikian-Chirvani (1982, p.250). The translation follows Charles-Henri de Fouchécour (Hâfez de Chiraz, Le Divan, Paris, 2006, no.66).

al-3izz wa'l-!iqbaal wa'l-dawlah wa'l-sa3aadah wa'l-salaamah wa'l-karaamah !aamiin bi-!ilaah al-3aalamiin
Glory and good fortune and prosperity and happiness and well-being and high standing! Amen! O God of the Worlds!
Inscription within a circular band inside the footring, in Arabic. Transcription follows Melikian-Chirvani (1982, p.250). Komaroff (1992, p.158) read, !aamiin yaa !ilaah al-3aalamiin, "Amen! O God of the Worlds!"

3amal Habiib allaah ibn 3alii bahaarjaanii sanah 866
The work of Habiballah son of 'Ali Baharjani, anno 866
Signature on base, inside footring. AH 866 is equivalent to AD 1461-2. The signature of the same metalworker occurs on another, very similar drinking vessel of this type in Museum für Islamische Kunst in Berlin (I-3606). It was made five years earlier, AH 861 (AD 1456-7). The name Baharjani indicates a connection with Baharjan, which was one of the nine districts of the province of Quhistan in Khorasan according to a contemporary source. This has been used to attribute the two vessels to Khorasan and to Herat, then the capital of Khorasan.


Height: 12.8 cm, Diameter: 12.5 cm, Width: 14.5 cm maximum

Descriptive line

Jug, cast brass with inlaid decoration including Arabic and Persian inscriptions, signed by Habiballah ibn Ali Baharjani, Herat, Afghanistan, dated 866H, 1461-62

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Arthur Upham Pope, ed., A Survey of Persian Art from Prehistoric Times to the Present, Oxford and New York, 1938-9, pl.1376B.
L.A. Mayer, Islamic Metalworkers and Their Works, Geneva, 1959, p.42, pl.V.
Janine Sourdel-Thomine and Berthold Spuler, Die Kunst des Islams, Propyläen-Kunstgeschichte, vol. 4, Berlin, 1973, pl.327 and p.345.
Linda Komaroff, "Timurid to Safavid Iran: Continuity and Change", Marsyas, XX (1979-80), p.12, fig.3.
A.S. Melikian-Chirvani, Islamic Metalwork from the Iranian World, 8th-18th Centuries (London: HMSO, 1982), no.109, pp.248-250.
Linda Komaroff, "Pen-case and Candlestick: Two Sources for the Development of Persian Inlaid Metalwork", The Metropolitan Museum Journal, XXIII (1988), figs 10-13.
J. Allan, "Metalwork", in The Arts of Persia, ed. R.W. Ferrier, New Haven and London, 1989, pp.182-3, pls 24, 25.
Thomas W. Lentz and Glenn D. Lowry, Timur and the Princely Vision. Persian Art and Culture in the Fifteenth Century, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, 1989, p.351, no.110, illustrated on p.206.
Linda Komaroff, The Golden Disk of Heaven: Metalwork of Timurid Iran, Costa Mesa, California, and New York, 1992, pp.156-9, no.4.
Tim Stanley, Palace and Mosque: Islamic Art from the Middle East, London, 2004, p.85, pl.99.

Labels and date

Jameel Gallery

Jug Inscribed in Arabic and Persian
Afghanistan, Herat
Dated 1461-2

This pot-bellied jug was a drinking vessel. The inscriptions include good wishes in Arabic, and on the body, two lyric poems in Persian that refer to drinking wine. The verses are by Iran's most famous poet, Hafiz of Shiraz, who died about 1390.

Brass with engraved decoration partly inlaid in silver and a black composition.
Signed on the base by Habiballah, son of Ali Baharjani.

Museum no. 943-1886 [Jameel Gallery]
Cast brass with silver inlay
PERSIAN (Khorasan); 866H/1461-2 AD
The inscriptions include the date, the name of the metal worker, Habiballah ibn Ali of Baharjan (in the eastern province of Quhistan), and two odes by the great 14th century poet Hafiz. This piece is the earliest in date of a long series of similar jugs. [Old label]








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