Artistic Handcraft - Drinking bottle

A gift of Sultan Murad (1546-1595) to the Emperor Rudolf II., manufacturer unknown 
Origin and time: Istanbul, before 1581
Kunsthistorisches Museum Hofjagd- und Rüstkammer, Vienna
Inv. No. C 28

This exquisitly worked bottle consists of a lateral oval-shaped belly made of tangerine leather with curved parts on both sides and a dark blue neck in the middle. The entire surface is covered with grey-blue, dark blue and white leather appliques formed as moresques. A delicately turned plug made of horn with an ivory peak closes the bottle neck, while the small spout covered with red leather is closed with a plug made of ivory. Both plugs are attached to red cords which lead to silver fittings on top of the bottle‘s belly, where a similar though thicker cord is fixed to facilitate carrying the bottle.

This inchanting object is with great probability one of the gifts sent to the Emperor Rudolf II. by Sultan Murad III. (1546-1595) when he invited him to the celebration of his son’s curcumcision. It was the Venician minister at the Emperor’s court, Alberto Badoer, who, in his letter dated 12th September 1581, to his doge, Nicolò da Pante, in Prague mentioned that Rudolf II. received from the Turkish delegate, together with the invitation, a bottle made of leather. The Emperor in turn gave the Turkish delegate a chain and some cups worth 4000 guilder.