Begging bowl

pre-1876 (made)


Length: 10 in, Width: 5 in

734-1876 SSEA

This carved bowl was originally described in the South Kensington Museum's registers as a 'dervish's wallet', as receptacles of this type were used to carry alms by Muslim mendicant holy men. It is also known by the Iranian term kashkul. It is made from one quarter of a double coconut or coco-de-mer (Lodoicea maldivica or sechellarum), the largest seed in the world and endemic to only two of the 115 Seychelle Islands in the Indian Ocean; the first part of the name derives from the Latin form of 'Louis' (after Louis XV). These enormous seeds, which have separate sexes, were originally known to Europeans only from specimens found floating in the water and were given the designation 'maldivica' from the mistaken belief that they originated in the Maldives. They also once had the name Lodoicea callipyge ('beautiful rump') from their fanciful resemblance in their complete form to a woman's disembodied buttocks.

Location: In Storage

View this object on the V&A website