Inscribed Pen Box

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 199

This brass pen box was made in the late fourteenth century but significantly altered by the mid-fifteenth century. The interior decoration of a small-scale pattern of roundels with flying birds and running motifs provides a glimpse into the original decoration of the box. After the exterior surface was burnished to remove this original decoration, new patterns, including a series of interlocking medallions and cartouches and incised lotus blossoms, were set against a cross-hatched background. The inkwell and surrounding insert were added at a yet later date. The inscriptions in thuluth and naskh scripts include poetic verses and good wishes to the owner.

Inscribed Pen Box, Brass; engraved and inlaid with silver, gold, and black compound

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