Bodkin case or knife handle
Silver and niello, gilded copper
Date: Late 15th century or early 16th century
6.6 cm length
Bequeathed by C.D.E. Fortnum, 1899; WA1899.CDEF.V411
T. Schroder (2009), no. 544
The function of this object is not certain, but is probably the case for a bodkin (a sharp needle like tool used for punching holes in cloth or leather). Niello is a black metallic alloy of sulfur, copper, silver, and usually lead, used as an inlay on engraved metal. It was typical of late fifteenth-century Italy.
Information derived from T. Schroder, British and Continental Gold and Silver in the Ashmolean (2009)