Pen Box

papier-mâché cover and sliding compartment with rounded ends, painted and varnished

22.2 x 3.9 x 3.5cm

The top and sides of the cover have brightly coloured flower-and-bird designs on a sparkling, dark-brown ground, and their decoration may be attributed to Muhammad Husayn Shirazi. The base of the cover and the sides of the sliding compartment display even finer work, which was signed by Lutf ‘Ali Shirazi. They have a black ground, on which an undulating vine stem is painted in colours. On the base, the vine is arranged as a vertical composition, with a bird at the base and a butterfly at the top, while on the sliding compartment it forms a continuous pattern.

N.D. Khalili, B.W. Robinson & T. Stanley, Lacquer of the Islamic Lands, The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, volume XXII, Part One, London 1996, cat.155, pp.206–7.