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Gourd (Matara)

Turkey, 17th century
Gilded copper (tombak)
H. 32 cm; W. 15 cm
Musée du Louvre, R. Koechlin bequest, 1932
K 3442

The gilding originally covering the whole of the gourd has mostly disappeared. The engraved decoration is organized in three superposed registers separated by tendrils and is reminiscent of that of book-bindings and textiles.

The opening at the top of the neck is closed by a stopper attached to a small chain. This shape of gourd was frequent in seventeenth and eighteenth century Ottoman Turkey. Most of the published examples are in embroidered leather whereas metal versions seem to be less frequent. Most of these matara are in Germany and Austria, since many were taken as booty after the siege of Vienna in 1683. At that period they clearly formed part of the equipment of a fighting man on horseback.

Gourd (Matara)
Gourd (Matara)
K 3442
© 2006 Musée du Louvre / Chipault