While the art of cutting steel is usually associated with Safavid Iran, this box can be shown to be Moghul in origin. Like Iran, India possessed a flourishing steel industry in the 16th-18th centuries, attested by many surviving objects, particularly arms and armour. That metal decoration in general was cut in India is known from a number of objects. One is a steel vambrace attributed to the late 17th century Golconda in the Deccan (now in the Jagdith and Kala Mittal Museum of Indian Art, Hyderabad, inv. no. 76.1526, in: The Indian Heritage, Court Life and Arts under Mughal Rule, London, 1982, p. 137, no. 453). Two other Deccani metal objects with cut decoration are a bronze rahl (Quran stand), probably from Ahmadnagar and attributed to the late 16th century (Collection Mian, Bashir Wali Mohamed, London published in: India, Art and Culture 1300-1900, New York, 1985, pp. 284-285, no. 189) and a gilded copper calligraphic hawk-standard (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, India, op.cit., pp. 324-325, no. 220). These objects comprise a degree of fine workmanship that would have been needed to cut the decoration of our piece.
As a shape our box can be compared to a silver openwork box (pandan) of oblong form and with pyramidal lid attributed to the Portugese colony of Goa, now in a private collection (Mughal Silver Magnificence (XVI-XIXth C.), Brussels, 1987, p. 144, no. 209). The Indian provenance is also indicated by the use of mica as a backing material for the openwork panels. This material comes from the Himalayas; its accessability for Indian craftsmen is well-attested by the number of 19th century Company School miniatures painted on this surface.