Persia. Iron and gold.
Private collection, France
This priming flask, or barutdan, used to pour primer into a flintlock gun, has a bulbous, curved body that terminates in a bud-like form. The body of the flask has been decorated in gold koftgari to look zoomorphic: delicate scales cover the body of the flask and its tip is decorated with an eye. A large cartouche at the piece’s centre is divided by a band that contains gold koftgari scroll work.
On either side of the band are Arabic inscriptions; one side features intricate calligraphy in Thuluth, and the other Nasta’liq, which states:
Hu ‘Ali ya ‘Ali
(He ‘Ali, oh ‘Ali)
Although the shape of this flask was common for this period, its decoration is very finely executed and of distinct quality.
Size: Height 10.5 cm / 4.1 in, Length 14.7 cm / 5.8 in