Early 19th Century
Height 2 inches Length 11 ½ in Depth 3inches
An Ottoman Empire parcel-gilt silver qalamdan, the slender rectangular pen holder with faceted rounded ends and a hinged lid attached to a squat, square section, bombé inkwell with a hinged cover and cut corners, decorated with incised guilloche bands, the ends, edges and corners with gilded floral borders, the base of the inkwell with a flowerhead and further gilding. Turkish, early 19th century.
Footnote: In the Ottoman Empire scribes and calligraphers were an important and powerful elite. Working in different bureaucratic departments the “people of pen” (kalem ehli) influenced political, diplomatic and intellectual life. Thus expensive and elaborate qalamdans, often worn tucked into the belt, became symbols of their wealth and status.
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