A Very Fine 19th Century Ottoman Brass Qalamdan Divit Traveling Inkwell Pen Case

A Very Fine 19th Century Ottoman Brass Qalamdan Divit Traveling Inkwell Pen Case

Stock Number: FG_22016


This magnificent Turkish brass traveling quill or reed pen holder (Divit) with attached inkwell (Qalamdan) is from the period of the Ottoman Empire. These pen cases were used by official calligraphers and itinerary scribes, who would travel for business or sit near the city gate and write legal or administrative documents for illiterate citizens. These solid brass cases, sometimes highly decorated such as this one, were designed to be tucked into hanging under the belt. Handmade with beautiful deep engraved inscriptions and floral decorations allowed by Islam. The lidded pen case and seashell-like cupped inkwell were made to be portable and protective of their delicate contents.


Lenrth: 26 cm



Country of manufacture


Categories: Drawing Instruments, Communication, Office Antiques, Tools


The Divit Qalamdan was used by calligraphers to store their brushes or their feathers in the long pen box, and dry ink in the square container. Their use was very frequent during travels, and they were thus often carried by scribes serving merchants and representatives of the government.

The Inkwell and holder are heavy and solid. Age-related wear appears in places, and traces of ink are found in the container. The copper hinges function well. The item has a very attractive stable patina but no chlorides or other deteriorating issues. 

NOTE TO  BUYERS: Until the end of August, I will be staying in Italy (to end a half year’s sabbatical). Previous attempts to ship items to buyers from outside the EU often faced the (in)famous service of the Italian post. Therefore, if you live outside the EU Schengen zone and wish to buy an item listed here, please do, but be aware that shipping will be made to you during the first week of September. Buyers from within the EU will receive their instruments as usual.

I am sorry for this inconvenience,


Yuval (Gilgamesh)

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IL Gilgamesh

Gilgamesh was the mythological hero of the cultures of ancient West Asia, who set out on a journey in which he sought youth and eternal life.
Fleaglass Gilgamesh is located in Israel. As an archaeologist researching the material culture of the distant past and using the microscope as a powerful research tool, I have collected microscopes for over two decades from this fantastic tool's first 300 years of existence and researched the cultural context of their use. Passion has become an obsession, and I cultivate the complete and almost unique West Asian collection of historical microscopes. Respectively, I put up surplus or exciting items from the collection for sale. I would be happy to advise any interested collector free of charge. I would love to send photos, information and bibliographic references and discuss the sale details of the items offered here for sale.

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