The shape of this bottle echoes the leather water flasks used by medieval travellers, being flat on one side and rounded on the other. However, it was obviously not intended to be slung from the saddle of a horse, but probably made for sale to a pilgrim to the Holy Land. Glass vessels were especially popular with pilgrims seeking containers for their mementoes, as the contents (bones of saints, earth or water from sacred sites) remained both safe and visible.
The richly coloured enamels and gilding give a luxurious effect which disguises the rather poor quality of the thick and bubbly glass. The horsemen are depicted with great animation and detail. They wear the feathered hats made popular by the Mongols of Iran and thigh-high leather boots, with straps to hold them up like waders, which provided some protection against wild animals.