early 20th century
iron, gold damascene, bronze
length 8.3 cm
This seal consists of a slightly tapered black-ended handle turned from a solid iron bar. This is threaded to a turned bronze base whose flange is decorated with rolled knurling. The slightly convex top of the handle is damascened with a wyvern design. A band of damascening around the centre of the handle contains running foliage within wire and ribbon borders. Flattened green-gold wire scallops decorate the upper and lower edges of this band. The base of the seal has been cut with the reversed monogram ‘CA’ or ‘AC’. Seals of this sort are quite simple constructions. This one consists of the handle, produced by the damascening house, and the seal base, which, to judge from the knurling, was probably ordered separately from a machine shop or produced by the owner. The cutting of the initials is not obviously the work of a specialist seal-cutter, and could have been accomplished by any competent engraver. This type of seal is unusual only in that it does not appear among the normal commercial offerings of the damascene houses, but the ornamentation itself is entirely typical.
J. D. Lavin (ed.), The Art and Tradition of the Zuloagas: Spanish Damascene from the Khalili Collection, Oxford 1997, cat. 67, p. 172.