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A Pencase from Persia

A Persian pencase, V&A Museum

In preparation for the next exhibition at the Portico library, I chose to read Persia as it is by C. J. Wills (1887). He lived in Persia (Iran) for 15 years between 1866 to 1881.

I will be writing about the book separately. Here I would like to focus on one item only: pencase. In the chapter 14 of the book, Sir Wills refers to pencases as boxes of papier-mache, nine inches long, an inch and half width and the same dept. "These are painted by artists and the one painted by artists of renown are of great value, forty pounds being a common price paid for such a work of art by a rich amateur." He goes on to say, "It is possible to spend a year's hard work on the miniatures painted on a pencase. These are very minute and beautiful." (Page 121)

According to Sir Wills, artists in Iran, during 1866 to 1881, worked either on traditional copies of the popular scenes or the painting on pencases. The latter being where they made their earning.

Sir Wills referred to several fine specimens that "may be seen in the Persian Collection at the South Kensington Museum". I had seen pencases from Iran at the Victoria & Albert Museum previously. On making enquiries to Chiara De Nicolais | Assistant Curator Middle East of the museum, it became apparent that the following pencases were acquired in 1876 and would have been on view at the Museum in 1887. Hence, it is very likely that the pencases identified by the links below are the pencases that Sir Wills was referring to:

مشغول آماده شدن برای نمایشگاه بعدی کتابخانه پورتیکو هستیم و کتابی را که خلاصه‌ای از آن را برای نمایشگاه آماده می‌کنم کتابی با قدمت بیش از 150 سال است: پرشیا همانگونه که هست، سر ویلز. سر ویلز پزشکی انگلیسی است که مدت 15 سال در ایران زندگی کرده. کتاب خلاصه‌ای از تجربیات و خاطرات وی به همراه گزارش‌هایی که جمع‌آوری می‌کرده هست. در اینجا فقط به نکته‌ای که او در مورد جا قلمی (قلمدان) نوشته اشاره می‌کنم.

طبق نوشته سر ویلز، در ایران زمان قاجار، نقاشان یا آثار پرطرفدار سنتی را کپی می‌کردند یا روی قلمدان نقاشی می‌کردند. نقاشی روی قلمدان درواقع منبع اصلی درامد نقاشان بوده. لینک‌های بالا قلمدان‌های ایرانی را به نمایش می‌گذارد که در آن سال‌ها در موزه ویکتوریا و آلبرت نگهداری می‌شده.

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