HvWO 174

Two Antique copper food / bowl covers and a bell metal ink-pot or candle cover with Safavid designs. These covers are named Sarpush

Copper food covers and a bell metal ink-pot cover with Safavid designs


Two very rare copper dish covers (Sarpush) and a bell metal ink-pot cover with Safavid designs. On Persian paintings we frequently see food-covers, but these are seldom offered for sale.



We have 3 examples in our collection:

  1. The first cover has some fine Safavid designs  and a band  with calligraphy and has some similarities to the cover shown in Melikian (ref 1)  page 321 fig 145.
  2. The second huge dish cover (Sarpush) has a diameter of 35 cm and is approx 27 cm high and weighs nearly 3 kilo and has a wide band with calligraphy (Persian / Arabic) around it. The text is unfortunately unknown to us (see photos in slide-show) If anyone can help with the Arabic / Persian text we would be very grateful.
  3. The third small (ink-pot) cover (named davat) has been cast from bell metal and deeply engraved/incised. For similar covers see Melikian (ref 1)  page 282-285

Antique Persian dish cover

  ad 1 Persian style dish cover (dome shape)
Western Iran Central band decoration similar to Ref 1 page 331 fig 151
Persian dish covers with different decoration can be found in ref 1 pages 305, 321 & 344 
Each panel with animal decoration is followed by a panel with abstract floral decoration
antique Safavid copper sarpush
ad 2 This large Persian dish-cover Sarpush weighs nearly 3 kg
This very unusual shape looks like a Persian Tent, while most look like a dome

antique safavid foodcover

ad 2 We have not yet been able to proper decipher the text on this very large food cover.  If anyone can decipher this let us know!! 

Antique safavid copper

ad 2 food cover very fine calligraphic text

antique safavid dish cover

ad 2 Dish cover (Sarpush) seen from the top

Antique Sarpush 

ad 3 small heavy cover, probably for an inkwell (made of cast bell metal)

As Oman was occupied for periods by the Persians it is difficult to distinguish if the items are Persian or Omani. Also Persian craftsmen  worked in the Omani souqs. However the designs are 17th century Safavid. There have also been periods when Persian craftsmen wee not allowed in Oman.

Dating is also difficult, but generally speaking the more "diluted" the Safavid design the more recent the copper-ware

Name: Sarpush

Period: 1600-1840

Origin: Persia or Oman. Purchased in Nizwa´s old copper souq duirng the early 1980´s : Found under tons of dust in the old deserted workplaces. In the 1980´s only two Omani coppersmiths were left over and had turned partly into antique dealers...

    Below you find a Youtube film relating to the Safavid dynasty in Persia:
  1. Islamic Metalwork from the Iranian World A.S. Melikian-Chirvani 1982 Victoria and Albert museum
  2. J.L. Carter Tribes in Oman Peninsular publishing 1982 page 111 
  3. Traditional crafts of Saudi Arabia 1981 by John Topham p 157
  4. Nederlanders aan de kusten van Oman"1991 by B.J. Slot (contains the information on Muscat by Padtbrugge)
  5. Travels in Arabia by Wellsted Volume 1 1837 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)
  6. British Museum on-line Ingram collection  2012,6030.132 Large upside-down bowl-shaped stand made of beaten copper. Inscribed with bands of Persian verses and punched floral and palmette patterns. Diameter 44 cm Used as a base to hold a lamp-stand (e.g. see 2012,6030.131) Previous welding visible on the top