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The Water Decanter and Basin

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The Water Decanter and Basin

The Water Decanter and Basin
By:H.Shams

The water decanter and basin was a general household item used in Iran by people of all classes, and was used to wash hands before and after meals. Perhaps the water decanter and the basin in Islamic Iran would have had an alternative use because he had taken the influence before the five daily prayers.

However, the water decanter and basin used in the royal household were made especially of gold and encrusted with jewels such as emeralds, rubies, pearls and spinels. The origins of the water decay and basin of the Iranian crown jewels are not exactly known, but the European travelers of the 17th and 18th centuries had reported the use of such objects in the royal household and the common people of Iran. This corresponds to the period of the reign of the Safavid dynasty after Abbas I (1588-1629) until the end of the dynasty in 1722 after the murder of Shah Sultan Hussain (1694-1722). The period of the rule of the Afsharids Nadir Shah and Shah Rukh, Karim Khan of the Zand Dynasty and Agha Muhammad Khan Qajar, the founder of the Qajar Dynasty, also fell in the 18th century.
After the European travelers the water decanter was used to wash the hands of Shah and his guests before and after meals. The water used for this purpose was lukewarm water scented with rose water. A servant of the royal household would pour the water onto the Shah's hands by tipping the decanter while another servant held the basin under his hands, To collect the discarded water. The two servants would then walk around the table to treat the Shah's guests. Whenever the Shah visited the palace on an official tour of a certain region of his territory all his personal items such as his slippers, his water pipe and tobacco humidifier, including the water decanter and basin, and the other symbols of royal authority such as his sword Club and the staff was carried by his entourage.

The decanter, made of solid gold, is 42.5 cm high and has a weight of 4,224 kg. The entire surface of the decanter is encrusted with jewels, including the spout, the handle and the lid. The precious stones used are emeralds, rubies, pearls and spinels. Starting from the base of the decanter, various layers of parallel motifs running around the circumference of the decanter can be recognized. One of the most diverse designs, which is often repeated in these parallel zones, is the flower motif with a large emerald in the center and surrounded by small rubies, arranged in the form of petals. On the broad body of the decanter, while in the lower parallel zone the emerald is surrounded in the center of petals, in the upper parallel zone the jewels are inverted with a large ruby ​​in the center and surrounded by petals of emeralds. The largest emerald on the decanter is 30 carats and the largest ruby ​​is 22 carats.

The basin, which is 10.5 cm high, is divided into two parts; A wider, circular, flat, cup-shaped top with a diameter of 29.5 cm, which fits a narrower, deeper and cup-shaped lower part. The base of the top is actually a screen, through which water enters the lower pot and can be discarded at full path. The basin is also made of solid gold, but is covered with enamel decorations and encrusted with emeralds, the largest of which is 25 carats. The weight of the basin is 1.87 kg.

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