APRIL 2021

Writing Box, Mughal India

This writing box was exhibited in the exhibition Goa and The Great Mughal, shown at Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon from June to September 2014. The box would have probably been a European commission during a time of a great circulation of ideas, merchandise, and craftsmen between the capitals of these two empires. During the same period, various cities in Mughal India also produced desks, with mother of pearl and ivory marquetry often set with gold, silver and precious stones to meet foreign tastes and demands. In addition, they also made smaller objects, including caskets, writing boxes, and other boxes. The Mughal Empire appeared during one of the most sophisticated periods in the history of world art and โ€“ encouraged by the open-mindedness of its emperors โ€“ incorporated a broad range of influences in art, taste and style.

Part of the exhibition was devoted to the interchanges between the West and the Mughal empire via Goa and explored a group of objects that reveals mutual artistic influences. The types and the decorative grammar of these pieces reflect the circulation of ideas, merchandise and craftsmen between the capitals of the two empires. A catalogue accompanied the exhibition.

Writing box, Mughal India, 16th century, ebony, exotic wood, teak, ivory and iron. Private collection, Oporto