July 2–September 25, 2011 / This focus show features approximately 25 writing instruments produced in cosmopolitan centers such as Paris, Isfahan and Kyoto.

Photo above: Penbox / Anonymous (Turkish), 18th century, gilt metal set with rubies (or spinels), and emeralds, The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore (51.78). Photo courtesy of The Walters Art Museum

Every culture that values the art of writing has found ways to reflect the prestige and pleasure of writing through beautiful tools. Writing implements, such as pens, knives and scissors, as well as storage chests, pen-cases and writing desks, were often fashioned with precious materials: mother of pearl, gems, imported woods, gold and silver. Such items are exceptional works of art that are rarely exhibited in museums.

This exhibition provides a view into the intimate world of the writing instrument—personal objects used by individuals empowered with the skill to inscribe. Among these are a stunning Ottoman Turkish penbox and penholder, a lady’s desk from late 18th-century master cabinetmaker Maurice-Bernand Evalde and a writing-box (suzuri-bako) from Edo Japan. Objects such as these, owned by statesmen, calligraphers, wealthy merchants and women of stature, highlight the ingenuity of the artists who created them and attest to the centrality of the written word in the diverse cultures that produced them.

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Pen and Case / Anonymous (Turkish), Penbox, 18th century, gilt metal set with rubies, emeralds, and spinels, reed, The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore (51.78 and 51.87). Photo courtesy of The Walters Art Museum

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Penholder and Reed Pen / Anonymous (Turkish), 18th century, gilt metal set with rubies (or spinels) and emeralds, reed, The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, (51.87). Photo courtesy of The Walters Art Museum

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Writing Box and Implements (suzuri bako) with a Pheasant Beside a Stream / Anonymous (Japanese), 18th-19th century, lacquer, enamel, silver, mother-of-pearl, animal hair, silver alloy, stone, 8 1/4 x 8 7/8 in., The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. Photo courtesy of The Walters Art Museum

The Walters Art Museum
http://thewalters.org/


Comments
  • Kambiz
    Dec 17, 2011 - 5:31:14

    Wow.  Talk about ornate.  I see from your blog these are in museums.  Would you happen to know of anything similar that can be purchased?

  • Dr. Jamal Al-Ahmar
    Sep 07, 2011 - 12:18:26

    It’s a pleasure to see this ...

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