Turquoise & Mother-of-Pearl Inlaid Wooden Roasted Coffee Bean Cooling Platter (Mabradeh)
Black Sea region, Turkey
circa late 19th century
height: 22cm, width: 14.2cm, thickness: 4.2cm, weight: 300g
This hand-held wooden roasted coffee bean cooler (mabradeh) is unusually intricate and elaborate with the carved Islamic motifs, and turquoise and mother-of-pearl inlay work. The designs suggest a Turkish origin, most particularly that part of Anatolia that borders the Black Sea.
The preparation of coffee is essential in Turkish as well as in Bedouin culture and hospitality on the Arabian peninsular. Long handled roasting pans or spoons (
mahmasah) are used to roast raw arabica coffee beans. The beans are stirred as they roast and sometimes cardamom seeds are added. The beans are then turned out of the pan into a wooden colling dish such as the example here, where they can be gently shaken around to aid the colling process. Once cooled they are tipped through the hollow handle or neck which doubles as a shoot after which they can be ground in a grinder (mihbash) – often a modified pestle and mortar.
This example has a good, deep patina suggestive of significant age and use. More elaborate than most, it most probably was the property of a wealthier or more prominent notable. It has no repairs, cracks or other significant damage. Some of the turquoise inlay is deficient.
UK art market.
Salibi, K. et al, Cultural Treasures of Jordan: Jordan’s Traditional Crafts, Turab, 2000.
Inventory no.: 1080