Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Pen Box with Flowers, Birds and Animals

Object Name:
Pen box
17th century
Attributed to India
Ivory; carved, incised, and inlaid with black lacquer and gold
H. 1 in. (2.5 cm) W. 1 3/8 in. (3.5 cm) L. 8 in. (20.3 cm)
Ivories and Bone
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
Not on view
Ivory inlaid with black lacquer and gold is used to create intricate patterning of plants and birds on this Mughal pen-box. Animals carved into the ivory border the medallions along the lid. Pen-boxes, together with daggers and rings, were worn in men’s sashes in Mughal India to display wealth and were exchanged as royal gifts.
J. Pierpont Morgan, New York (until d. 1913; his estate 1913–17; gifted to MMA)
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