Sudanese silver from the first half of the 20th century is relatively common, but this cylindrical box is larger and finer than most examples that we have seen.
Its proportions are particularly pleasing, and the silver used is so high-grade that it is almost pure.
The base has two rings of scrollwork and Arabic script but is otherwise plain and highly polished.
The lid has a central cartouche with script and the Arabic numbers for ‘1936’ suggesting the year that the box was made, and most probably the place. An outer ring is of decorative scrollwork.
The lid fits tightly – it is possible that the box was intended to hold tobacco.
A similar example is illustrated in Al-Jadir (1981, p. 45).
It is from Omdurman, the most populous city in Sudan and Khartoum State. It lies on the western banks of the River Nile, opposite the capital, Khartoum. This piece was acquired in the UK. Sudanese silver often is found in the UK largely because Sudan was jointly governed by Great Britain and Egypt from 1899 until 1956. British troops and administrators often brought the silver back home as a memento of their time there.
The box is in excellent condition.
Al-Jadir, S., Arab & Islamic Silver, Stacey International, 1981.