Pen Box
Pen Box
Pen Box
Pen Box
Pen Box

Image credit: The Khalili Collections

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The main surfaces of this pen box – the top of the lid and the sides of the body – were painted by Isma'il with crowded scenes in which the principal actor is the eunuch Manuchihr Khan Mu'tamad al-Dawlah (d.1847), who rose to be one of the most powerful men in Iran under Fath 'Ali Shah and Muhammad Shah. The top of the lid shows a battle in progress. On the left Persian troops are drawn up in a square around their camp, in the middle of which Mu'tamad al-Dawlah is seated on a throne. The battle is in progress around the square, and on the right the enemy camp lies among irrigation canals and palm trees, outside the walls of a city. These events, which took place in 1257 AH (1841–1842), are described in the verses inscribed in white nasta'liq around the edges of the lid.

The Khalili Collections



Pen Box


1266 AH (1849–1850)


papier-mâché body with lift-off lid, painted & varnished

Accession number


Work type



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The Khalili Collections

London, Greater London England

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