An Islamic Medieval lacquered wood covered box
Lot 9
A Medieval Islamic lacquered wood Covered Box Persia, 11th/ 12th Century
£2,500 - 3,500
US$ 4,200 - 5,900
Auction Details
Lot Details
A Medieval Islamic lacquered wood Covered Box
Persia, 11th/ 12th Century
of rounded form on flat base, with separate slightly domed lid and secondary removable lid with finial, plain to interior
13 cm. high


  • Due to the scarcity of surviving material, the history of early Islamic lacquer production is obscure at present. Of the surviving works, the first published example is a Mamluk bowl in the Museum of Islamic Arts, Cairo (Abd el-Ra' uf Ali Yousuf, 'Syro-Egyptian glass, pottery and wooden vessels', in Rachel Ward (ed.), Gilded and Enamelled Glass From the Middle East, London, 1988, pp. 20-29, col. pl. 6.9). Fragments of painted and varnished wooden objects were found in excavations of the Mamluk site of Qusair al-Qadim (Estelle J. Wheelan, Unusual Islamic Finds in Qusair al-Qadim 1978, Preliminary Report, Cairo, 1978, pp. 206-7). 13th Century fragments were also found in Persia during the excavations at Ghubayra (Geza Fehervari, Near Eastern Lacquerwork: History and Early Guidance, in Lacquerwork in Asia and Beyond, London, 1981, pp. 225-231).

    More recently, two further additions to the corpus of early lacquered wood have appeared at auction, viz a small bichromatic cup with a design of birds in red and black attributed to Afghanistan or North East Persia, 11th/ 12th Century, and a cylindrical box in the same colour scheme with a naskhi inscription from North East Persia, circa 14th Century (see Christie's, Islamic Art and Manuscripts, 1st May 2001, lots 280 and 281).
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