early 19th century
gold, translucent and painted enamel
2.5 x 6.3 x 4.4 cm
The function of this small box is unknown, but its small dimensions and shape seem to indicate that it was used for medicines, or perhaps to hold a miniature Qur’an.
The iris was a popular subject in early 19th century Iran, being rendered in a number of media, including jewellery, manuscript illumination and lacquer. A fine example of the last, the doublures of a papier-mâché manuscript binding painted by Muhammad Hadi, circa 1819, is in the Khalili Collection of Islamic Art (see MSS 773 in the Islamic Art section).
Haydn Williams, Enamels of the World: 1700-2000 The Khalili Collections, London 2009, cat. 138, p. 210.