Cast brass, turned, engraved, inlaid with black compound (niello)
Overall: 17 cm (6 11/16 in.); Diameter of base: 11 cm (4 5/16 in.); Diameter of rim: 16.8 cm (6 5/8 in.)
Gift of Rosenberg & Stiebel, Inc. 1969.291
Three animal motifs are repeated within the geometric interlacing: a doe with its head turned backward; a water fowl; and a horned animal, possibly an ibex.
This pail was made to carry traditional bathing equipment such as combs and a friction glove to the public bath, or hammam. Intended for the faithful’s purification, the hammam was also a meeting place and a center of social life as well as a popular theme with Iranian poets. The poem in the upper band of this pail employs bath imagery to express the Lover’s longing to see the Beloved. In the lower bands, verses by the celebrated poet Jami (died 1492) liken the sense of well-being induced by a visit to the bath to the elation experienced through ascetic detachment.
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