Water Filter with Pseudo-Arabic Inscription

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Water filter with pseudo-Arabic inscription 10th century, Egypt Clay Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, 1971.1.21

Water filter with pseudo-Arabic inscription

In addition to geometric patterns and zoomorphic imagery, ceramic water filters were also decorated with Arabic and pseudo-Arabic inscriptions. This filter features a cartouche filled with Arabic letters, set against a diamond within a circle patterned with waves. As with any other filter, the pierced holes would have served to prevent contaminants from entering and exiting the water contained within. Moreover, given the widespread belief in the talismanic power of the written word in the Islamic world, it is possible that the text imbued the liquid with symbolic protection as it passed through the filter.

Bibliography: Olmer 1932; Scanlon 1970a; 1986, 40–41; 1968; 1964; Blair 1989; and Ettinghausen 1974.

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