Pilgrim Flask

Object Name: Pilgrim flask

Date: 17th century

Geography: Attributed to Turkey

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


Imitating the shape of more portable leather prototypes, this so-called pilgrim flask is cast in copper. Originally covered in a type of gilding referred to as tombak, this piece still displays traces of its once golden sheen. Leather flasks were a standard part of equestrian equipment, and were popular among the Ottomans. Luxury examples such as this, however, probably served as emblems of rank.