An Imperial Pilgrim’s Water Flask

leather with metal-thread embroidery; turned wooden stopper
 

height 45.5cm
 

The flask (matara) was most probably used to collect water from Zamzam – the well inside the Meccan sanctuary – to take back to Sultan ‘Abdulhamid II (reg. 1876–1909) in Istanbul. It is one of a small group, the earliest of which was sent by the Ottoman Sultan Murad III (reg. 1574–1595) to the Austrian Emperor Rudolf II in 1582.