The Arabic side inscriptions read:
sa'adat tujaddid kull yawm wa iqbal 'ala raghm al-hasud
wa lazalat laka al-ayyam bayda wa ayyam alladhi sa['a]ka sud
wa sa'adatka min al-ashya' an ta'adh[b?] (taghad)
al-'izz wa al-nasr wa al-iqbal wa al-zafar
([May all] good fortune be renewed [for you] every day and [also] prosperity despite the envious one
and [may] your bright days not decline and [may] the days of the one who troubles you be black
and [may it] assist you among those that torment you(?)
Glory and success and prosperity and triumph)
The central panel reads: "al-dunya mazra'at al-akhira" (The World is the land under cultivation [for] the hereafter).
Three other wooden boxes with related workmanship have been published. Two are in the colection of Sheikh Faisal al-Thani in Qatar, while the third was offered at Bonhams, 17 October 2002, lot 331. Inlaid with three colours of lacquer, they also relate in technique to a series of contemoraneous Yemeni cylindrical boxes whose surface is completely covered by lacquer which is then carved through to reveal the same three different colours, sometimes with the addition of a green, thereby forming the designs (see for example one sold in these Rooms, 17 October 1995, lot 269). The designs also relate to the earliest Yemeni gold and silver inlaid steel penboxes such as one sold in these Rooms, 28 April 1992, lot 174.