HvWO 172

Antique bowls with Safavid type designs (some with high quality artistic designs) . Some (wine) bowls seem to be cast copper.

Cups and bowls with vine Safavid type designs

Eleven different pieces of copper ware with with Persian Safavid designs.  As Oman has been occupied for long periods in the 17th century it is difficult to determine if these items are Omani or Persian. There were also a few Persians working in the Omani souqs in the 17th century (see eyewitness account Padtbrugge) The designs are definitely 17th century Persian (Safavid) for many similar examples see the book by Melikian  (ref 1)

  • The first bowl is very shallow  and with a beautiful detailed designs (not made of bell metal)
  • The larger wine-bowls (!)  are mostly cast from copper, (if you tick against them they ring like a bell) and subsequently engraved. 
  • The  small cups maybe coffee cups or water-cups used by Hindu (see below)
  • None of the "Persian" copper found in Oman had human figures in its decoration

Very fine designs (but very worn) , probably a very old piece

Antique Omani copper

The fine design on the foot is found on other old pieces e.g. Ref 1 page 311 fig 138  and also Ref 1 page 331 fig 151.

antique Omani copper

In the 1830´s wine  grapes and wine (Wellsted (ref 5)  calls it shirazzi) were produced in large quantities on the Jebel Akhdar  mountain plane see Travels in Arabia Volume 1 by Wellsted. In fact the vineyard area on the Jebel Akhdar planes was also called Shiraz (close to the current village named  Saiq) Hence the wine bowl explanation is very plausible! Around 1830 Oman was a wine exporting nation according to Wellsted! In Yemen these bowls are also occasionally found but with very diluted designs (later copies? ) They were said to be used for pouring water in the Hamman. Dating is also difficult, but generally speaking the more "diluted"  the Safavid design the more recent the copper-ware  (see for example e.g. ref 3) Around 1850 the American Joseph Osgood visited Muscat and he wrote: "When traveling every Banian (=Hindu) carries his own bell-metal goblet or bowl to drink from, and should he chance to leave this article of personal property behind he would abstain altogether from the use of liquids. Should his supply of water be exhausted during a long passage, he would  prefer death to life saved by drinking from a vessel polluted by persons of a different religion, and at an expense of his caste, to be deprived of which he considers is a loss of the comforts of his religion and all its supposed benefits after death"

History Shiraz wine Oman

 Wellsted 1842: Village named Shirazi on the Jebel Akhar. At that time grapes were grown on the Jebel Akhdar and wine produced!  Nizzuwah is Nizwa.

Carter ref 3 page 11 has an illustration of two later wine-bowls and says: the two bowls, called Shiraziyah  in Oman, also purport to have been made at Nizwa possibly the beginning of this century . Comment the bowls shown are made of cast copper and subsequently engraved

Secret History of Shiraz wine BBC

Antique Persian Wine Bowl from Nizwa

Similarities with wine bowl in Western Iranian style from Kashmir ref 1 page 351 fig 165

Antique Persian copper bowl

Antique Persian bowl

Some familiarities with a bowl from Khorasan / Herat ref  1 page 279-280 fig 117


Antique Safavid copper

Very fine Safavid designs on this small tinned bowl, a very old piece

Westen Iran: Top border decoration identical to the bowl ref 1 page 335 fig 154a


Antique Islamic metalware

Antique Islamic metal-ware (text not deciphered)

Name: Tas / In Oman the large bowls are named Shiraziyah (!!). Some of these are in fact Persian wine bowls! Shirazzi may also refer to the Shirazzi type of  grapes and wine produced in the past  on the Jebel Akhdar.  

Period: 1600-1830

Origin: Persia or Oman. Purchased in Nizwa´s old copper souq during the early 1980´s : Found under tons of dust in the old  deserted workplaces. In the 1980´s only two Omani coppersmiths had remained in the old Nizwa copper souq. These two men were selling the left over copper in the different deserted workplaces and  even the Omani doors of these old workplaces  were for sale.

  1. Islamic Metalwork from the Iranian World A.S. Melikian-Chirvani 1982 Victoria and Albert museum
  2. Sotheby´s auction Art of the Islamic world London lot 185 October 3 2012
  3. J.L. Carter Tribes in Oman Peninsular publishing 1982 page 111 
  4. Traditional crafts of Saudi Arabia 1981 by John Topham p 157
  5. Nederlanders aan de kusten van Oman"1991 by B.J. Slot (contains the information on Muscat by Padtbrugge)
  6. Travels in Arabia by Wellsted Volume 1 1837
  7. Oman-Holland A short history of the relations between the Sultanate of Oman and the Netherlands by Dr. B. Slot 1993 (English translation of reference 4).
  8. Joseph B.F. Osgood Notes of Travel  or recollections of Majunga, zanzibar, muscat, Aden, Mocha and other Eastern ports, Salem 1854 page 100