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Bodkin case or knife handle

Silver and niello, gilded copper

Origin: Italy

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)