Antique Turkish Armenian Silver Niello Sweetheart Tobacco Case with Tughra Mark (Code 1836)
A silver niello work small case, likely for tobacco, from the Turkish town of Van in the far east of the country. Helpfully the front is marked 'VAN', (with the 'N' transposed) in the Latin alphabet ensuring correct identifcation. It is decorated to resemble a sweetheart letter with a stamp form and frank to the front with a bouquet of flowers. The reverse is designed to look like the closure of an envelope with a heart shaped device for an inscription.
It is marked in Arabic to the front and includes the sultan's tughra mark for .900 grade silver to the 'stamp'. It is also marked internally, some of the marks appear to be Armenian, and this would accord with production at Van where Armenian silversmiths worked within Turkey.
The case is dedicated to the reverse in the sweetheart cartouche, and there is a further inscription internally scratched into the metal. This appears to reference 1976, so is significantly later than the item itself, which would date to the late 19th or early 20th century. Perhaps it was handed down and rededicated to a new family member.
Niello work from Van is relatively scarce, and examples are always of a high standard. This piece uses significantly more silver than would be necessary in keeping with its luxury status.
Normal period wear. Some damage to the front edge from a knock shown in close up for you. Minor knocks to front left and rear left corners. See images for general presentation. Hinge and closure working nice and tightly.
Length: 9.5 cm ( 3 3/4 inch )
Depth: 6.5 cm ( 2 1/2 inch )
Weight: 144 grams (before packing)
Stock Code: 1836 SP19-1
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