The technique of decorating objects with hardstones and gems set within floral mounts on gold tendrils is characteristic of the Ottoman aesthetic. From the 16th century the Ottomans decorated jewellery, weapons and vessels in this manner. A bracelet which sold in these Rooms, 16 October 2001, lot 262 demonstrates the technique as does another is in Frankfurt - see Türkische Kunst und Kultur aus osmanischer Zeit, exhibition catalogue, Frankfurt, 1985, no.7/4, vol.1, p.125 and vol.2, p.308. Weapons and horse trappings received similar treatment, as seen on a dagger and saddle published in Garo Kürkman, Ottoman Silver Marks, Istanbul, 1996, p. 136-37). The dagger and saddle published in Kürkman are both marked with the tughra of Murad IV (1623-40 AD), suggesting a similar date for the elements of our box. It is possible that the box was assembled into its current form at a later stage, probably in the 18th or early 19th century.
In his book The Age of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent, Esin Atil describes the Ottoman taste of the period as showing a strong preference for bold red, green and bluish green stones with a mind to creating a coloristic effect unconcerned by the physical perfection of the gemstones (Esin Atil, The Age of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent, New York, 1988, p. 118). The brilliant and colourful effect produced in a sense echoes the contemporaneous taste in manuscript illumination.
A closely related box with similar jade and hardstone panels was sold at Sotheby’s, 7 October 2009, lot 192.