Illustrated introduction to Mesopotamia, £8.99
Height: 26.000 cm
Gift of Sir A.W. Franks
ME OA 1877.1-16.42
Room 34: The Islamic world
Green blown-glass rose water sprinkler
From Shiraz or Qom, Iran, mid-19th century AD
This tall blown-glass bottle is for sprinkling rose water. The spiral ribbing around the neck and shoulder is produced with a technique known as 'wrything': while the glass is still soft, the neck is twisted until the ribbed effect begins to appear. The bottle was acquired in the city of Qom, along with three other rose water sprinklers. All four were made in Shiraz or Qom in the mid-nineteenth century. Sprinkling rose water was a pleasant way to freshen a room or to scent ones clothing or body. Reflecting their pleasant function, rose water sprinklers could also be beautiful objects of luxury. Another method of perfuming the air was to burn incense, for which beautiful vessels were also designed.
The sweet heavy perfume of the rose has long held a poetic appeal. Roses feature often in Persian poetry, sometimes evoking both sensuality and mysticism. The poet Sa'di (died 1292) from Shiraz in southern Iran, wrote a poetic compilation of anecdotes entitled Gulistan ('The Rose Garden'), which is a major work of Persian literature.
H. Tait (ed.), Five thousand years of glass (London, The British Museum Press, 1991)