AN INDIAN SILVER ROSEWATER SPRINKLER
Probably Mumbai, 18th century, with indistinct French(?) import silver mark
The bulbous sprinker decorated with floral and vine motifs, on circular foot and with detachable top.
H. 26 cm
Weight 315 grams
Rosewater sprinkling originally was an Iranian custom observed during the festival of Ab Pasthan to invoke the memory of a rainfall that put an end to famine. In Mughal India the the festival was celebrated annually when courtiers sprinkled rosewater over each other from elongated vases called gulab pash. As Mughal tradition spread to South India, South East Asia and was adopted by the Portuguese, Dutch and English, it became more generalized. It was used to sprinkle the wedding couple, the deceased and generally to welcome guests. Today it is not unusual to be sprinkled gently when leaving a restaurant. The form of the sprinklers is essentially the same from the Middle East to South East Asia but the decoration varies.