Metalwork has always enjoyed a great prestige in
the Islamic world. The beautifully shaped metal
wares used at meals and banquets were
regarded as a status symbol. As in ancient time,
bronze household goods were prized for their
durability and their natural beauty.
This bottle is a perfume flask, most probably
used to contain rose water. Rose water was
known to have been distilled by the Arabs at
least as early as the ninth century. Sprinkling
rose water was a pleasant way to freshen up a
room, to scent one’s clothing or body. Rose
water sprinklers could have been beautiful
objects of luxury. This bottle has a cylindrical
body, a rounded shoulder, and a flaring mouth
with pierced holes. It is decorated with incised
abstract designs consisting of circles, crosses,
vertical and horizontal lines.
The form of the sprinkler is among one of the
many found in Transoxania during the Early
Islamic Period. Its origin appears to be common
Sassanian silver bottle, of which examples are to
be found in Perm, Baku, and Kharkov.
The craftsmen of the Islamic period founded an
artistic language that became a recognizable
characteristic of Islamic metalwork and which has
continued with only minor changes to this day.
Most of the Islamic metal objects are functional
but artistic in their style.