A Very Fine Qajar Engraved, Gold and Silver Damascened Steel Ewer (Aftabah) and Basin or Lagan Set, Iran, 19th Century.

Identification Number: 115


The ewer base is of a conical shape. The ewer’s very unusual bulbous body is designed with two large oval shaped, inscribed on both sides, and gold overlaid flat surfaces.
The ewer body is rising to an elongated straight-flanged neck and domed hinged knop, both neck and lid are decorated, engraved and outlined with gold-damascene.
The ewer has a serpentine long shaped handle and designed with a stylised mythical beast head finial.
The ewer long spot is designed with a slight S shape motif.
The ewer body is engraved on both sides with repeating floral sprays, the centre has a large and beautiful inscribed medallion, the Farsi inscription has a false early date (part of the Farsi inscription states “Aftabah” translating to the ewer, the middle line is inscribed with the Arabic word “Sannat” translating to the year, the year numbers can be found on top and the base of the medallion, 1010 AH. = 1601 AD.).
A number of Qajar period steel artefacts can be found in major world collections have various false dates or early Sultans names, such as the name of the Safavid ruler Shah Abbas.
The basin is designed with a globular body rising from a plain base to a wide gently sloping rim deeply engraved with repeating floral sprays rising either side of a gold damascened hanging palmettes within elongated scalloped shaped medallions.
The basins large round opining top is covered with removable openwork steel lid decorated and engraved with four large eight pointed star open work motives outlined with gold overlaid damascene, a raising knob is fitted at the centre for lifting purposes.
These beautiful steel objects were made strictly for decoration purposes, some authors suggest that this type of ewer and basin is based on much earlier Indian counterparts.
For a similar technique, please see Persian Steel, The Tanavoli Collection, J.W. Allan, example 32 (page 54).

Condition: very good with minor rubbing to gold.

Dimensions: 46 cm ewer high.
21 cm width of ewer (across the handle and spout).
13 cm basin height
32.2 cm basin diam.