The collection

Rosewater bottle

North India, 1675–1725
Gold set with rubies, emeralds, pearls
H. 25.7 cm

In the Indian court, rosewater was sprinkled over guests at the end of a meal using bottles (gulabpash) such as this gem encrusted one which was probably made in the Mughal imperial workshops (1675 -1725). The bottle is inscribed with its weight for the treasury records.

Differences in the colour of gold and the settings suggest that the neck is a replacement dating from the late eighteenth century. Rosewater was also sprinkled at larger social gatherings as a sign of favour and hospitality. A similar bottle was removed from Delhi in 1739 and taken to Russia in 1741 by the embassy of the Iranian ruler Nadir Shah.