Water Usage: Drinking and Washing
‘Water is scarce in desert regions, and thus valuable.’
Because water is scarce in desert regions, and thus valuable, the implements with which people drink and wash are often ornately decorated. In wealthy households – such as that of a Mamluk governor of Qus in Upper Egypt – water would have been poured over guest’s hands from inlaid metal ewers and into basins for washing before and after meals. Often, Mamluk inlaid-metal basins are decorated with a whorl of fish on the inside base so that when the basin is filled with water, the fish appear to be swimming. Likewise, fish are among the motifs found in Mamluk green-glazed pottery which imitates Chinese celadon wares.

Hegira, second half of the 4th–first half of the 5th centuries / AD 10th–11th centuries
Museum of Islamic Art
Raqqada, Kairouan, Tunisia
Glass-making technology, inherited ultimately from the Romans, was strong in the Mediterranean during the 4th and 5th / 10th and 11th centuries. Glass was used for drinking vessels and many other domestic items.