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Ink pot

  • Place of origin:

    Tabriz (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1510-1520 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Mirak Husayn (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Brass, engraved and inlaid with silver

  • Museum number:

    2:1 to 2-1883

  • Gallery location:

    Islamic Middle East, Room 42, The Jameel Gallery, case 9E []

  • Public access description

    This inkwell is one of the last examples of inlaid metalwork made in Iran. It was probably used by a high official of the Safavid government. The poems on it include the wish that 'the pen may write the Sultan's official signature with ink from this well’. The inkwell was originally attached to a pen case.

    Although production of objects of inlaid brass and tinned copper continued, around 1550 a new type of brassware with fine, engraved decoration emerged in Iran. Stylised plants and other ornament were shown in relief against a hatched ground, originally filled with a black compound. The decoration was often arranged in bands or cartouches that matched the shape of the object. Poetic inscriptions in the elegant ‘nasta’liq’ style of Persian calligraphy were also common. Human and animal motifs, absent since before 1400, reappeared.

  • Physical description

    Ink pot with cylindrical base with onion-domed lid, surmounted by a small loop. Pot is engraved with epigraphic friezes around base and top, and both lid and pot are decorated with panels and cartouches containing engraved inscription and geometric designs. Parts of the engraved areas are inlaid with silver.

  • Marks and inscriptions

    signed on the base

  • Dimensions

    Height: 9 cm, Width: 4.4 cm

  • Descriptive line

    Inkwell with silver inlay, Iran (possibly Tabriz), 1510-1520.

  • Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

    A. S. Melikian-Chirvani, Islamic Metalwork from the Iranian World, 8-18th Centuries, London, 1982, pp.283-84, cat. no. 119.

  • Labels and date

    INK - POT
    Brass, engraved and inlaid with silver. Signed on the base by Mirak Husayn of Yazd. PERSIAN; early 16th century. [Old label]
    Inkwell with Silver Inlay
    Iran, possibly Tabriz
    1510-20

    This inkwell is one of the last examples of inlaid metalwork made in Iran. It was probably used by a high official of the Safavid government - the poems on it include the wish that, 'the pen may write the Sultan's official signature with ink from this well.' The inkwell was originally attached to a pen case.

    Brass inlaid with silver and a black composition. Signed by Mirak Husayn Yazdi

    Museum no. 2-1883 [Jameel Gallery]

  • Collection code

    Middle East Section