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This rare and unusual flask was intended to hold drinking water and was meant to be tied to the saddle of the horse of a high-raking Rajput or Deccan princely owner. The form is based on the ancient hide waterskins of Central Asia, the form of which influenced ‘pilgrim’ flask vessels as well.
The body of the flask is most likely made of hammered zinc, although it is completely covered in pleated red fabric. The mounts are of solid silver.
The two silver handles are in the form of peacock heads. The neck, mouth and screw-in cap also are of silver. The vessel sits on a round, flared silver foot chased with floral motifs. One side of the vessel is decorated with a large, silver, pieced roundel, with a raised central part decorated with a flower motif.
The vessel has woven cotton straps used to attach it to a saddle.
A related example is illustrated in Terlinden (1997, p. 112).
The example here sits flatly and evenly, and is in excellent condition.
Terlinden, C., Mughal Silver Magnificence, Antalga, 1987.