octagonal papier-mâché case and hinged shutter, painted and varnished; with gilded brass hinges and hasp
16.8 x 13.2cm (case); 15 x 11.5cm (shutter)
The back of the case and the outer surface of the shutter are filled with flower-and-bird designs of the highest quality; that on the back of the case is on a black ground, while that on the outside of the shutter is set against a sparkling red ground. The inside of the shutter is divided by gold fillets into frame, field and central lobed medallion, all filled with arrangements of smaller, more stylized flowers.
The signature, which is in white nasta‘liq on the outer cover, reads, Huwa! Zi ba‘d-i Muhammad ‘Ali ashraf-ast (‘He! After Muhammad ‘Ali is the most noble’). This is a crypto-signature used by ‘Ali Ashraf.
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.65, pp.97–8.