DESCRIPTION: Inlaid Persian metalwork has long been distinguished for its fine craftsmanship and elaborate designs. Here we have an early 19th C. iron pen box, exquisitely inlaid with gold on all surfaces. On the top is featured three cartouches, the two outer ones with birds in a setting of intricate floral decorations, and the center with seated and standing figures on either side of a table. Elaborate big game hunting scenes surround all sides of the box, featuring men on galloping horses wielding their swords against lions and stags. Hunting as a royal activity has a long history in the Middle East and its imagery plays a key role in the arts of Iran and India.
The box slides open to reveal the compartment for holding the pen as well as the original ink pot with hinged lid, also inlaid with gold. Covering the base is a continuous scrolling vine motif. Such a pen box would have been a luxury item commission by the wealthy elite or given in recognition of some official accomplishment. First quarter of the 19th century, very good condition with very little loss of the gold inlay; a few superficial light rust spots on the inner pen compartment. When closed, the outer cover and inner compartment fit snugly together. DIMENSIONS: 7 ¾” wide x 1” high x 1 ¼” deep.