A double-spouted ewer attributed to 8th or 9th century Iran sold in these Rooms, 16 October 2001, lot 218, closely relates to the present ewer in the overall shape of its ovoid body, straight spouts and waisted neck. A ewer in the Bumiller collection also datable to the 8th or 9th century displays the same shape on short flat foot; although the spout is lacking, the inclination of its base indicates that it would probably have had a similar spout to that of the present example (Manfred Bumiller, Kleinformate, Bumiller - Collection, vol.7, Balzers, 2002, cat.31, pp.75-6). According to Eva Baer's classifications of early Islamic ewers, the present example falls into the third group, a less homogenous group and of transitional type, displaying features belonging to other groups. Most examples have an ovoid body on a low splayed foot and a bipartite neck as visible here (Eva Baer, Metalwork in Medieval Islamic Art, New York, 1983, pp.87-88, ill.67).
In style, the decoration of this ewer with its blooming palmettes in low-relief, draws on earlier Sassanian traditions. A bronze ewer offered in these Rooms, 23 April 2002, lot 82 displays a similar vegetal pattern around its body and was attributed to 8th Iraq. A number of Sasanian metal vessels illustrated by Pope, and specifically various elements of the decoration of a silver-gilt ewer in the Hermitage, give the prototype for the floral style found here (Arthur U. Pope, A Survey of Persian Art, Oxford, 1938, pl.222-23).