The beggar's bowl or ‘kashkul’ was a sign of the religious poverty assumed by Islamic mystics. This function is reflected in the inscriptions used. On this ‘kashkul’ they include verses from the Qur'an as well as poetry in Persian praising the ‘kashkul’ in mystical terms.
This bowl is carved from half the shell of a huge nut. It is the fruit of the coco de mer palm which grows in the Seychelle Islands, in the Indian Ocean. The shell washes ashore in southern Iran.
The shell’s journey took on spiritual significance as a symbol of the dervish’s journey on the ocean of mystic knowledge. Many ‘kashkuls’ even have a ‘prow’ carved on them. Others, including this one, have a small spout to make the bowl into a drinking vessel.
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