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Identification and Creation
Object Number
2005.23
Title
Rosewater Sprinkler (Gulabpash/Gulabdani)
Classification
Vessels
Work Type
vessel
Date
c. 1880 - 1890
Places
Creation Place: South Asia, India, Gujarat
Culture
Indian
Location
Level 2, Room 2590, South Asian Art, South Asia in the Medieval and Early Modern Eras
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Physical Descriptions
Medium
Silver
Dimensions
26.5 x 9.8 cm (10 7/16 x 3 7/8 in.)
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift in memory of Liliane Soriano
Accession Year
2005
Object Number
2005.23
Division
Asian and Mediterranean Art
Contact
am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu
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Descriptions
Description
The silver rosewater sprinkler has a bulbous body, a long, tapering spout with floral scrollwork, and a blooming, flower-shaped finial. The floral nozzle has five piercings from which rosewater can be sprinkled. The body, which would have contained the rosewater, is decorated with floral designs set within a medallion of leaves.

The major centers in India for silver-work were Bombay, Calcutta, Cutch, Kashmir, Lucknow, and Madras. Stylistically, this sprinkler can be attributed to Bhuj, in Cutch (now Kutch), Gujarat. The base contains an illegible inscription which probably gives the name of the workshop where the object was created. The numeral "four" is inscribed in Devanagari script, which may be an indication of its date, or a production number.
Commentary
Rosewater was traditionally sprinkled on guests in India because it has cooling and refreshing properties. The tradition of using rosewater came to Mughal India from Iran, where, in the festival of Ab Pashan, rosewater was sprinkled to invoke the memory of rainfall, which would put an end to famine. The custom was gradually incorporated into the Rajput court, where it was used in both ceremonial as well as religious festivals. It is now used in India to welcome arriving guests.

Objects such as this sprinkler were widely produced for international exhibitions, such as the Colonial and Indian Exhibition held in London in 1886.
Exhibition History

Silver and Shawls: India, Europe, and the Colonial Art Market, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 08/27/2005 - 01/29/2006

Overlapping Realms: Arts of the Islamic World and India, 900-1900, Harvard University Art Museums, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 12/02/2006 - 03/23/2008

32Q: 2590 South and Southeast Asia, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/02/2015 - 01/01/2050

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu