Place of Origin: Mongolia
Date: 16th-17th Century
Overall Height: 618mm (24 Inches)
The rarity of this exceptional Mongolian bow case is surpassed only by the fact that its painted decoration has also survived.
The case’s structure is comprised of two leather panels sewn together, one edge further secured with short iron studs and the other thickened with additional leather strips. The front has been smoothed and lacquered black, its border painted in yellow and a gradient green which is then followed by a band of lozenges enclosing small quatrefoils. Two hand-painted panels adorn the main section of the bow case: a large circle at top-centre and a seed-shaped frame below are painted at their edges en suite with the front face’s border, each panel filled with a satisfying honeycomb-pattern of interlocking specked hexagons.
Few comparanda can be found for the present piece, and dating the case more precisely is made difficult by the fact that similar artworks did not see considerable change in their decorative style over the centuries. A comparable set comprising both bow case and quiver at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (Accession No. 2003.344a-c) is dated to around the 15th-17th centuries. A Tibetan leather box dated to the 15th-16th century and sold at Bonhams also shows a similar type of patterning.