Arts of the Book: Manuscripts, Folios, Bindings
Group Of Scribal Implements
Ottoman, 18th-19th century CE
Materials and technique
Length (max.) 28.8 cm
Beautiful writing (calligraphy) is the highest form of Islamic art and is thought to bring one closer to God. Although the primary criteria for a calligrapher’s tools are quality and usefulness, it was felt that beautiful tools contributed to the creation of beautiful writing. Throughout the centuries Islamic artisans have produced exquisite scribal implements and other related objects, including scribe’s boxes, pen boxes and inkwells. Lavishly decorated with precious metal inlays or painted designs under varnish, these tools are beautiful objects in their own right. This group of Ottoman scribal implements is no exception. It includes three pairs of steel scissors and a steel rule all inlaid with gold; a silver and gilt pen box and inkwell; two pen rests, one in ivory and the other of gold inlaid steel; a gold inlaid steel pen; a cylindrical implement holder painted with floral sprays; two further inkwells, one in brass and the other in silver with a turquoise stud; and a lobed silver and gilt pot. The handles on one pair of scissors have been appropriately formed in an openwork inscription which reads as an invocation to God, “O the Opener!”.
© 2007 The Aga Khan Development Network. This is the only authorised Website of the Aga Khan Development Network.