papier-mâché case and hinged shutter, pianted and varnished, with brass hinges and hasp
22.4 x 15.3cm (case); 19.5 x 12.5cm (shutter)
The back of the case and the outer face of the shutter are decorated with a design of large composite blossoms, exquisitely painted in two tones of gold on a dark-green ground; there is a border of running gold scrollwork on a yellow ground. The inner face of the shutter is crimson and has a central medallion and corner-pieces of floral scrollwork, executed in gold and picked out with colours.
The main design on the exterior of this mirror case is strikingly similar to that on the binding of a copy of a work by Jami made in Herat in 1494. If the binding is contemporary with the manuscript, which seems more than likely, then this mirror case may be seen as a ‘revivalist’ piece.
The decoration is signed in gold naskh, ‘Illuminated by Muhammad Baqir al-Musawi, entitled Sani‘ al-zaman’.
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.113, p.150.