Mughal Aftaba (Ewer) 01

Price on Inquiry

All orders are insured for transit.

This item cannot be shipped outside India.


Size (WxDxH): 9 x 6 x 10 inches
Medium: Brass


This is an exceptional, cast brass, Mughal or Deccan ewer or aftaba, entirely engraved with meandering leaves, vines and flowers. The body of the ewer is a ribbed pear shape narrowing to a hexagonal neck engraved with niches and flowers. The handle is also engraved with flowers and at its base is a prominent bud. At the top are lugs from which the lid would have been attached (now missing). The faceted spout emerges from a leaf form at the base and is engraved with alternating trellis and vine leaf patterns. At the spout is engraved a stylized poppy flower. A comparable example can be seen in Mark Zebrowski's "Gold, Silver and Bronze from Mughal India", cat.234, p.164. Similar ewers can also be seen at both Christie's and Bonhams.
“One of the most characteristic objects of daily life throughout the Islamic world is the ewer…,” says Zebrowski. Furthermore “in the hot climates of India and the middle east, this water bearing vessel had great importance.” These were for both religious as well as utilitarian purposes and appear often in miniatures, art and architecture. In Deccan and Mughal culture, it is thought that ewers would have been used to pour scented water for guest to wash their hands. The ewer is generally thought to have evolved in Iran and spread to India but Zebrowski feels there is some evidence that this may have been the other way round. He cites an earlier dated example found in a temple from 1415.

This piece is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.