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  • Place of origin:

    Italy (made)

  • Date:

    16th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown (production)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Wood box overlaid with bone and inlaid in bone ebony and mahogany with a brass clasp and handle

  • Credit Line:

    Murray Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The geometric pattern on the lid and sides is an interesting example of creating a three dimensional effect by juxtaposing lighter and darker pieces of wood - an art at which the Italians excelled. Both the materials and the design of this box show the influence of the Islamic world upon the manufacture of luxury objects in Italy in the 16th century. The trade routes between states like Venice and the cities of the eastern Mediterranean resulted in a two-way cultural exchange that profoundly affected art and design. The geometric inlay of coloured woods and bone is similar in style to the designs found on Islamic woodwork.

Physical description

Wood (coffer-shaped) overlaid with bone and squares of geometrical inlay in bone (partly stained green), ebony and mahogany, the bottom with squares of ebony and bone. Brass handle, drop clasp and hinges.

Place of Origin

Italy (made)


16th century (made)


Unknown (production)

Materials and Techniques

Wood box overlaid with bone and inlaid in bone ebony and mahogany with a brass clasp and handle


Height: 8.57 cm, Width: 7.62 cm

Object history note

From the Murray bequest.

Descriptive line

Box, wood inlaid with marquetry of bone, ebony and mahogany, Italian, 16th century

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

'Salting Bequest (A. 70 to A. 1029-1910) / Murray Bequest (A. 1030 to A. 1096-1910)'. In: List of Works of Art Acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum (Department of Architecture and Sculpture). London: Printed under the Authority of his Majesty's Stationery Office, by Eyre and Spottiswoode, Limited, East Harding Street, EC, p. 163


Wood; Mahogany; Ebony; Bone


Sculpture; Containers

Collection code


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