Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Ashmolean − Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

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Qalamdan, or pen box, with floral decoration

  • Description

    In Islamic culture, calligraphy has always held a special place and its practice is still considered the foremost form of visual expression. Its prestige extends to the ‘tools of the trade,’ the writing materials and implements that support the work of these artists.

    Historical examples of pen cases and scribal boxes were fashioned from metal - as in the medieval period - or wood and papier-mâché - in the modern time - and exquisitely decorated, as this example demonstrates. Their fine decoration and intimate nature made them into highly collectible items in modern times.

  • Details

    Associated place
    Asia Iran (place of creation)
    18th - 19th century (1701 - 1900)
    Material and technique
    steel, incised, and inlaid with gold
    4.4 x 27.7 x 3.7 cm (height x width x depth)
    Material index
    Technique index
    formed cast,
    Object type index
    containerboxpen-box qalamdan,
    No. of items
    Credit line
    Bequeathed by Christopher T. Gandy, 2012.
    Accession no.


    • currently in research collection

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