Pilgrim Flask

Object Name: Pilgrim flask

Date: 17th century

Geography: Attributed to Turkey

Culture: Islamic

Medium: Copper (tombak); cast, engraved and gilded

Dimensions: H. 8 1/4 in (21 cm)

Classification: Metal

Credit Line: Purchase, Alastair B. Martin, Schimmel Foundation Inc., Mr. and Mrs. Jerome A. Straka, Margaret Mushekian, and Edward Ablat Gifts, and Louis E. and Theresa S. Seley Purchase Fund for Islamic Art, 1984

Accession Number: 1984.100


Flasks of this type are related to so-called pilgrim flasks, the form of which can be traced to pre-Islamic times. This example is worked in copper and shows some traces of gilding. It is engraved with large floral forms, some of which are enclosed in lobed medallions and interlacing knots. Around both faces is a heavy rim, and on either side of the neck is a ring for a chain. These features are probably survivals of a leather prototype—leather flasks were popular with the Ottomans, and luxury examples were even used as emblems of rank. The Museum's flask can be dated to the seventeenth century, just at the end of the great flowering of Ottoman coppersmithing.