Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Pen Box

Object Name:
Pen box
late 11th–early 12th century
From Italy, Amalfi
Ivory; carved; copper alloy mounts
L. 9 3/4 in. (24.765 cm) H. 2 9/16 in. (6.5 cm) D. 2 9/16 in. (6.5 cm)
Ivories and Bone
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 304
Islam, Christianity, and Judaism exalted the written word, and this elegant box, created to house writing tools, would have had special meaning for its owner. The Latin inscription (Taurus, the son of Mansone) links the box with the Mansone family, a ducal power in Amalfi during the eleventh century.
Inscription: "Taurus filius Mansonis" (Taurus, the son of Mansonis)
Baron Albert Oppenheim, Cologne (by 1902; cat., 1902, no. 1200); J. Pierpont Morgan, New York (by 1906–d. 1913; his estate 1913–17; gifted to MMA)
Palermo. Palazzo Reale di Palermo. "Nobiles Officinae," December 12, 2003–March 10, 2004, no. 44.

Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. "Nobiles Officinae," March 31, 2004–June 13, 2004, no. 44.

Salerno, Italy. Museo Diocesano di San Matteo. "L'enigma degli avori medievali da Amalfi a Salerno," December 20, 2007–April 30, 2008.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Jerusalem 1000–1400: Every People Under Heaven," September 26, 2016–January 8, 2017, not in catalogue.

Clemen, Paul. Die Rheinische und die Westfalische Kunst auf der Kunsthistorischen Ausstellung zu Dusseldorf 1902. Leipzig, 1902.

Kunsthistorische Ausstellung, Düsseldorf 1902: Illustrirter Katalog. Düsseldorf: Bagel Verlag, 1902. no. 1200.

Renard, Edmund. "Illustrierter Katalog." In Die Kunsthistorische Ausstellung Düsseldorf 1902. Düsseldorf, 1902. no. 1200.

Molinier, Emile. Collection du Baron A. Oppenheim: Tableaux et objets d'art. Paris, 1904. no. 62, p. 28, ill. pl. XLVII.

Guide to the Loan exhibition of the J. Pierpont Morgan collection. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1914. p. 8.

Breck, Joseph, and Meyric R. Rogers. Pierpont Morgan Wing: A Handbook. 2 ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1929. p. 52.

Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Mohammedan Decorative Arts. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1930. p. 100, ill. fig. 45 (b/w).

Cott, Perry Blythe. "Siculo-Arabic Ivories." Princeton, 1939. ill. pl. 78.

Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Muhammadan Art. 2nd rev. and enl. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1944. p. 128.

Kühnel, Ernst, and J. & S. Goldschmidt. Die Islamische Elfenbeinskulpturen VII–XIII Jahrhundert. no. 30. Berlin: Deutscher Verlag für Kunstwissenschaft, 1971. no. 86, pp. 18, 20-22, 67, 78, ill. pl. XCI.

Les Ivoires: Deuxième Partie: Antiquité, Islam, Inde, Chine, Japon, Afrique Noire, Régions Polaires, Amérique. vol. 137. Paris: Tardy, 1977. p. 127, ill.

Ettinghausen, Richard, Oleg Grabar, and Marilyn Jenkins-Madina. Islamic Art and Architecture 650–1250. 2nd ed. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2001. p. 300, ill. fig. 491.

"Die Königlichen Hofwerkstatten zu Palermo zur Zeit der Normannen und Staufer im 12. und 13. Jahrhundert." In Nobiles Officinae. Milan and Vienna: Skira , 2004. no. 44, p. 213, ill. (color).

Shalem, Avinoam. "Islamic Objects in Historical Context." In The Oliphant. Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2004. p. 63-64, ill. fig. 34 a-c, pl. IV.

Galan y Galindo, Angel. "Catalogo De Piezas." In Marfiles Medievales Del Islam. vol. 2. Cordoba: Publicaciones Obra Social Y Cultural Cajasur, 2005.

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