The Art of the Writing Instrument from Paris to Persia

July 02, 2011–September 25, 2011

This focus show features writing instruments produced in cosmopolitan centers such as Paris, Isfahan and Kyoto. Every culture that values the art of writing has found ways to reflect the prestige and pleasure of writing through beautiful tools. Writing implements, such as pens, knives and scissors, as well as storage chests, pen-cases and writing desks, were often fashioned with precious materials: mother of pearl, gems, imported woods, gold and silver. Once owned by statesmen, calligraphers, wealthy merchants and women of fashion, these stunning objects highlight the ingenuity of the artists who created them and underline the centrality of the written word in the diverse cultures that produced them.