An Extremely Rare Early Qajar Carved, Engraved, Inscribed and Polychromed Wooden Footed Donation Bowl (Kashkul), Probably Abada, Iran, 1800-1850 AD.

Identification Number: 121


The donation or beggar’s bowl was a sign of religious poverty assumed by Islamic mystics or the Sufi sect. In reality Kashkuls can be objects of great sophistication and also can be lavishly made by using expensive materials and workmanship such as in our current example. Kashkuls normally bear various kinds of inscriptions such as verses from the Quran or poetry in both Arabic and Farsi languages.
This one carved wooden piece, engraved and inscribed footed bowl with extremely fine and elaborate openwork handles in the form of a large paisley motif (Butah), ending with a dragonhead on each side, calligraphy was carved on the upper rim of the bowl. Additional black and red Polychrome was used to decorate the bowl handles, rims and base.
Through out the early history of Islam, the prophet Mohamed had a very close relationship between him and his obedient cousin, friend and son-in-law Ali.
Since Ali was young he was fearless of the enemies of Islam and he had learned great deal from the prophet Mohamed he also had additional good characteristics such as being very intelligent, courageous and helpful etc., in on occasion Ali was allowed to stay and sleep in the prophet bed allowing the prophet to escape his pre planned assassination by his enemies.
The poem of Naadi Ali is believed to be reported through reliable sources that when all notable companions of the profit Mohamed had failed to make headway at the battle of Khaybar, Angel Gabriel came with the text of (Naadi Ali) and asked the prophet to call Ali through this. The prophet accordingly recited this divine revelation, and Ali who was initially ordered by the prophet not to go to the battlefield and to stay indoors because of an eye infection, came and conquered the fort of Khayber.
The following is the Arabic poem, which begins call upon Ali.

The above Arabic inscription translates to the following:-

Call Upon Ali, The Wonders Explorer, He Shall Come to Help or to the Rescue When Needed or when you are in Difficulties, Presently All Sorrows Will be Removed by the Greatness of God, And by Apostleship of Mohamed and by the Authority that Was Granted To Ali oh Ali oh Ali Come To My Help.
This type of carving is associated with the village of Abadah near the city of Isfahan.
For a similar lot please see, The Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK, Gameel Gallery, Islamic Middle East Room 42, Case WW7, Lot No. 626-1876

Condition: Excellent, minor chip to bowl, some paint loss.

Dimensions: 37 cm long.
Top diam. 12 cm across.
Height 37 cm.