- Place of origin:
ca. 1500 (made)
- Materials and Techniques:
- Museum number:
- Gallery location:
Islamic Middle East, Room 42, The Jameel Gallery, case 9E
Bowls for collecting alms were used by dervishes, the name given to Muslim mystics who lived in religious poverty. This example is engraved along the rim with a Shi’ite prayer for the Fourteen Immaculates. These were the members of Muhammad's family whom the Shi'ite Muslims of Iran hold in greatest esteem. The Safavid dynasty (ruled 1501-1722), who came to power about the time this bowl was made, were both Shi’ite Muslims and the leaders of a dervish order.
This bowl is made of copper covered with a layer of tin. It would once have shone like silver. This bright surface would have contrasted strongly with the recessed background, which was filled with a black composition.
Dervish's wallet or kashkul, boat-shaped, made of tinned copper and engraved with Arabic text and floral decoration.
Place of Origin
ca. 1500 (made)
Materials and Techniques
Marks and inscriptions
Inscription band consists of prayer calling God's blessings on the Fourteen Protected Ones
O God may Thy Grace descend upon al-Mustafa, al-Murtada, The Lady, the two Grandsons, Zayn al-'Ibad al Baqri/ qir, al-Sadiq, al-Kazim, al-Rida, al-Taqi, al-Naqi, al-Askari, The Guide
Underside of the vessel has owner's mark incised in the 18th century, and superimposed by another owner's mark in the 19th century. Only the date of the earlier mark can be made out under the new inscription.
1145/24 June 1732-13 June 1733
O Muhammad! Abbas ali Agha
Length: 25 cm maximum, Height: 11.9 cm maximum, Depth: 13.5 cm maximum
Object history note
Historical significance: Possibly the earliest datable prayer on metal calling God's blessing on the Fourteen Immaculates.
Beggar's bowl, Iran, about 1500.
Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)
A. S. Melikian-Chirvani, Islamic Metalwork from the Iranian World 8-18th Centuries, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1982, pp.253-54, no.112.
Linda Komaroff, The Golden Disk of Heaven: Metalwork of Timurid Iran Costa Mesa, California, and New York, 1992, pp.203, 205, no.23.
Labels and date
Iran or Afghanistan
Bowls for collecting alms were used by dervishes - Muslim mystics who lived in religious poverty. This example is engraved along the rim with a Shi'ite prayer for the Fourteen Immaculates. The Safavid dynasty, who came to power about the time this bowl was made, were both Shi'ites and the leaders of a dervish order.
Copper engraved, tinned and filled with a black composition
Museum no. 755-1889 [Jameel Gallery]
PERSIAN; 18th century (Richard Collection)
DERVISH'S BEGGING BOWL
Tinned copper, engraved with Arabic texts and floral scrolls.
PERSIAN; 17th century [Used until 10/2002]
Middle East Section