Water vessel

From Hays, Tihamah, Yemen, AD 1960s

This unglazed water vessel (sharbat al-'arus) traditionally forms part of the trousseau that a bride takes to her new home. People living in Yemen distinguish different types of water according to use, for example, for washing, ritual ablutions or drinking and so on. Drinking water is also defined according to quality; good water is described as 'light' on the stomach and is said to affect not only one's health but also speech. Until recently, all water in the home was fetched daily by women from wells and springs and carried in pottery jars or gourds. Today plastic buckets and metal jerrycans are used. However, pottery storage jars may still be used in the home to keep the water cool. In addition these jars may be perfumed over an incense burner before use.

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More information


S. Posey, Yemeni pottery (London, The British Museum Press, 1994)


Height: 34.000 cm

Museum number

AOA 1993.As11.58



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