Box with cover

Date: 15th century

Culture: possibly Egyptian

Medium: Brass, inlaid with silver and niello (?)

Dimensions: 3 × 4 1/2 in. (7.6 × 11.4 cm)

Classification: Metalwork-Brass

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1923

Accession Number: 23.67.5a, b


Round bottom boxes with lids are rare in Islamic metalwork but curiously common in the oeuvres of Mahmud al-Kurdi and Zain al-Din. The original function of this elegant little box is unknown. Sweetmeats may have been served in it, but the similarity in its size and capacity to other boxes lends support to the idea that it was used to transport pre-packed speziere minute or sottili (valuable spices exported in small quantities to Europe).