Water Filter with Lion Design

The Show


Water filter with lion design 10th–12th centuries, Fustat (medieval Cairo), Egypt Hand-tooled and pierced clay Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, 1971.1.3

Water filter with lion design

This ceramic water filter includes a delicately carved lion set against a background of pierced rhomboids. The filter serves its purpose just as well as any other, but the design sets it apart as more than just a utilitarian object. The ornamented filter thus blurs the lines between beauty and utility. Besides this lively lion, zoomorphic water filters excavated at Fustat (the capital of medieval Egypt) depict a variety of animals, including birds, rabbits, elephants, gazelles, and peacocks.

Bibliography: Olmer 1932; Scanlon 1986, 38–40, pl. 22-a; 1970a; 1968; 1964; and Watson 2004, 133, cat. Ae. 1.

Return to the Show