Vessel 351 in Sanskrit script on lid
Undecipherable inscription on body
These inscriptions perhaps allude to an inventory number of the original owner or commissioner of this vessel.
Whereas the form of this pilgrim flask, which is derived from earlier leather prototypes, is discussed in detail by Zebrowski, it is extremely rare to find complete examples such as this one which have their original lid and are inscribed (see Mark Zebrowski, Gold, Silver and Bronze from Mughal India, London, 1997, p.199-205). Pilgrim flasks of identical form are in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (without a lid, inv. no. 1992.50), the David Collection, Copenhagen (inv. no. 32/2008), and the Khalili Collection (inv. no. MTW 1530). Furthermore, it is interesting to compare the shape to Chinese porcelain flasks which slightly pre-date the Deccani models demonstrating the spread and reinterpretation of the leather prototype which would have been used by nomadic tribes. Indeed, chains or cords would have been attached to the suspension loops enabling the flask to be carried on long journeys or into battle.