Northwest Iran or Anatolia
circa 1300 CE
Materials and technique
Bronze, inlaid with gold and silver
9.4 x 4.5 cm
Elaborately decorated metalwork pen boxes are amongst the finest objects associated with writing in the mediaeval Islamic world. Pen boxes held both practical and symbolic functions at Islamic courts. They served as compact and often beautifully decorated containers for scribes’ tools, but they could also represent a specific court office or more generally the power of kingship. Profusely decorated with precious gold and silver inlay and engraved geometric, floral and vegetal designs, this luxury pen box would have been carried by a high-ranking individual, perhaps even a ruler.
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