Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Writing Box

Object Name:
Writing box
late 16th–early 17th century
Made in India or Pakistan, Gujarat or Sind
Wood; veneered with ebony, inlaid with ivory and bone (partially stained), brass (sadeli technique)
H. 13 1/2 in. (34.3 cm) W. 20 7/8 in. (53 cm) D. 5 1/8 in. (13 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Pat and John Rosenwald Gift, 2004
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 463
The surfaces of this writing box are veneered with ebony and inlaid with ivory and sadeli, a type of micromosaic in use since antiquity. It is associated with the eastern Mediterranean region, from where it spread to Iran and India. This technique consists of binding together sections of diverse materials (tin, wood, ivory, bone, etc.), which are sliced transversally and formed into thin sheets of repeating patterns that are adhered to a wooden support.
Private collection, Scotland (by descent from at least 1900–2003); Christie's, South Kensington, October 17, 2003, no. 143, to McInerney; [ Terence McInerney, New York, 2003–4; sold to MMA]
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Making the Invisible Visible," April 2, 2013–August 4, 2013, no catalogue.

Ekhtiar, Maryam, Sheila R. Canby, Navina Haidar, and Priscilla P. Soucek, ed. Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1st ed. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. no. p. 268, pp. 341, 379-380, ill. p. 379 (color).

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