Writing Box

Object Name: Writing box

Date: late 16th–early 17th century

Geography: Made in India or Pakistan, Gujarat or Sind

Medium: Wood; veneered with ebony, inlaid with ivory and bone (partially stained), brass (sadeli technique)

Dimensions: H. 13 1/2 in. (34.3 cm)
W. 20 7/8 in. (53 cm)
D. 5 1/8 in. (13 cm)

Classification: Wood

Credit Line: Purchase, Pat and John Rosenwald Gift, 2004

Accession Number: 2004.439


The surfaces of this writing box are veneered with ebony and inlaid with ivory and sadeli, a type of micromosaic in use since antiquity. It is associated with the eastern Mediterranean region, from where it spread to Iran and India. This technique consists of binding together sections of diverse materials (tin, wood, ivory, bone, etc.), which are sliced transversally and formed into thin sheets of repeating patterns that are adhered to a wooden support.