- Museum number
Goldsmith's box made of wood painted and varnished, containing a set of gold-overlaid steel tools for weighing jewellery such as scissors, tweezers, measuring spoons, three weighing scales of different sizes, an extendable rule, a file and a set of weights, within compartments of a removable tray. The box is painted with scenes of Qajar princes hunting and other courtly or historical scenes: the top of the lid depicts King Solomon enthroned and surrounded by "peris" (winged spirits), "jinns, courtiers and animals, including the hoopoe, his wise messenger bird; underneath the lid, Joseph before Potiphar's wife appears among other enthroned figures; inside the lid, a hinged mirror with glass on both sides features the Prophet Muhammad's son-in-law Ali and his sons, Hasan and Husayn, with angels.
- Production date
- 1840 (circa)
Height: 16 centimetres
Length: 64.50 centimetres
Depth: 37 centimetres
- Curator's comments
Lacquer objects, Iran, 18th-19th c.
The objects in this case are decorated in painted lacquer designs during the Qajar period (1794-1925) when the technique reached new artistic heights. Lacquer decoration is achieved by covering a water-colour painted surface with a glossy layer of transparent or golden varnish. It was used on book-bindings, pen-boxes and even archery bows.
Painted and lacquered goldsmith’s box with steel balances, weights and tools inlaid in gold
Qajar Iran, about 1840
Gift of Frank Cook Esq
This elaborate toolkit for weighing jewellery includes scissors, tweezers, measuring spoons, scales and a set of weights which fit into custom-made sections. Inside the lid is a mirror. The top of the lid depicts Solomon enthroned, surrounded by angels, courtiers, demons, animals and his wise messenger, the hoopoe bird. Hunting scenes with Qajar princes decorate the sides of the box. The biblical King Solomon features in the Qur’an as Prophet Sulaiman who spoke the language of birds and animals and wielded power over all creatures, real and fantastic, with justice and wisdom.
Wooden box, painted and varnished containing three balances of different sizes, with appropriate wrights and instruments
Qajar Iran, About 18840
The top of the lid depicts Solomon enthroned, with peris, jinns, courtiers and animals or monsters. The sides of the box bear hunting scenes with Qajar princes. Inside the lid is a hinged mirror with glass on both sides: the inner face shows Ali, hasan and Husayn with angels. The inside of the lid has a scene of enthroned figures, including Joseph before Potiphar's wife.
Inside the box a removable wooden tray holds tools and weights of steel etched and patinated with sparse gold damascening. The three sets of balances take to bits. The largest one has a forged and turned shaft screwing inot the wooden tray, which thus forms a stand for it. The two pans, hung on strings of purple silk and metal thread, are gold damascened. Two other similar balances, each with a set of instruments, are contained in rectangular varnished boxes.
- On display (G43/dc1)
- Exhibition history
Addis Gallery, case 8
- Acquisition date
- Middle East
- Registration number