This particularly fine silver box was probably initially intended to serve as a cartridge box. However, it now holds a wad of religious papers, handwritten in likely Koranic Arabic, and so the box served as a talismanic or protective device for the wearer. It would have been used by a soldier or more likely, an officer. It is from the Ottoman Balkans, most probably Serbia, Bulgaria, Bosnia or maybe Albania.
The front is decorated in high relief with a mosque-like flourish that has been gilded. The sides are decorated with a leafy scrolling border. The rounded, hinged lid is decorated with a central flower motif and leafy cartouches on each side, all gilded. The sides and the base are decorated with further flower motifs. The reverse is plain.
There is a large ring on each side of the box. Three small rings are located to the top of the front, and three more hang from beneath the box.
The box is in excellent condition.
Elgood, R., The Arms of Greece: And her Balkan Neighbours in the Ottoman Period, Thames & Hudson, 2009.
Koc, A., et al, Istanbul: The City and the Sultan, Nieuwe Kerk, 2007.