An ivory casket




Mughal Empire


18th century


Carving, gilding


Ivory, copper


Length 235 mm: width 71 mm; height 57 mm

The oblong rectangular casket consists of a slightly convex hinged lid, a flat base and two pairs of side panels carved from ivory. The lid and side panels is skillfully carved outside with various floral motifs in low relief. The base of the box is decorated along the side faces with a stylized foliate border. Inside there is a small compartment for two inkwells with figured lids. Original gilt copper mounts, hinges, inkwells and lock have been preserved.

COMMENT. The presented example belongs to a small series of Indian writing caskets carved from ivory. Some of them can be seen nowadays in Western museums and private collections. The caskets are very similar to each other in proportions, design and style. Judging by some characteristic features of the ornament, all of them were made no later than the 18th century in the Mughal domain, perhaps even in the same workshop.

LITERATURE: Hermann Historica München. 51. Ausgewählte Historische Objekte. 18. Oktober – 20. Oktober 2006: [Auktionskatalog]. – München, 2006. – Los 2114.