6737

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    Kashmiri Pierced, Chiselled Bronze Pen Case

    Kashmir, India
    18th century

    length: 26.5cm, depth: 9.8cm, height: 7.5cm, weight: 879g

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    Provenance

    UK art market

    This large, pierced and engraved pen box is of bronze and is from India, either northern India – probably Kashmir – or from the Deccan. It is rectangular but with eight sides.

    It stands on four feet and has a hinged, raised lid that closes with a latch.  All sides and the central cartouche on the lid are pierced with scrolling lattice work.

    The lid has a border of Persian in nastaliq script. The lines most likely are from a poem by Omar Khayyam, the 11th-12 century Persian poet, mathematician, astronomer and philosopher. The maker’s inclusion of lines from such a famous source no doubt was intended to elevate the status of the object.

    The interior is divided into compartments for inkpots, pens and so on.

    The box has a good, chocolate-brown patina.

    The box is in very fine condition.

    References

    Najat Haidar, N., & M. Sardar, Sultans of Deccan India 1500-1700: Opulence and Fantasy, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2015.

    Pal, P., The Arts of Kashmir, Asia Society, 2007.

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