HvWO 158I

Large bronze Octagonal Mortar, probably Persian and very old

Slideshow Large bronze Mortar, probably Persian, very old

Very rare large octagonal bronze Mortar (probably Persian). Probably very old, dating  before 16th century? Weighs over 10 kilo.  Measures: 12,5 cm high and 19,5 cm diameter. So far no pieces identified with similar designs. The casting of the detailed designs is a little bit crude. Mortars also played an important role in pounding coffee.

In 1836 Wellsted writes in his travels of Arabia "One of the slaves kept pounding coffee from the time they first arrived. The pestle on these occasions is made to strike the sides and bottom of the mortar in such time and manner as to cause it to resemble the chiming bells, and the slave usually accompanies it with a song" This very large heavy mortar has probably not been used for preparing coffee. In fact the bottom of this mortar has been used as frequently as an anvil (based on all the dents) ....

Name: Havan

Period: 12th -16th century?

Origin: The shape of the mortar looks similar to early Persian pieces. However this particular design not identified so far.  Also never seen another example of such a large mortar in Oman. Purchased in Oman Nizwa during the early 1980´s


  1. Islamic Metalwork from the Iranian World A.S. Melikian-Chirvani 1982 Victoria and Albert museum page 68 fig 38 and page 111 fig 42   (same shape but different and more refined  designs)