Pear-shaped body, splayed foot decorated by
inscription and four medallions containing
aquatic birds; short neck terminating in an
elaborate oil-lamp shaped spout, handle with
This ewer is richly decorated by a series of zones
inlaid with silver.
On the frontal part and placed in a prominent
position, semi-circular niche comparable in
shape to a Mihrab, encompassing the
anthropomorphic figure of a four-legged winged
creature, possibly Al-Buraq among vegetation.
The upper part of the body has two decorative
registers: on the lower, inscription interrupted by
three medallions each containing a bird. On the
upper, four rabbits and a fox in movement.
On the neck, three registers of decoration, two
with benedictory inscriptions, in the middle one
two heraldic greyhounds in movement facing
each other among vegetation.
On the lamp of the neck, two heraldic
greyhounds depicted in movement in profile to
In the Qu’ran all creatures are believed to praise
God, even if this praise is not expressed in
human voice, thus believers are admonished to
treat animals gently and with compassion, in fact
the word “Muslim” does not exclusively apply to
humans but also to animals and the inanimate
Early Islamic literature portrays dogs as symbols
of highly esteemed virtues such as self-sacrifice
and loyalty while birds are commonly revered,
and often used as a metaphor for the soul’s
divine journey to God. Additionally trained
hunting dogs are described in the Qu’ran in a
positive light and the companionship of these
dogs is met with great approval.
Between the end of the 10th and 12th century
new forms appear to have been introduced from
the Eastern Islamic world, which include this
characteristic type of ewer with an oil-lamp like
spout. Signed specimens of this typology have
been discovered by Russian scholars in Fergana
(Eastern Uzbekistan) and Usrushana (district in
Transoxiana, to the north-east of Samarqand)
dating to the middle of the 11th century.
While these early examples were either plain or
very little decorated, later 12th to early 13th
century ewers from Khurasan were inlaid with
silver and copper, attesting to the new artistic
trends of the time.