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).