King Solomon in British Museum

King Solomon in British Museum

On my visit to the British Museum, I came across a strange artifact in the Muslim section, located in the ground floor of the museum.

According to the Museum, it is :


Painted and lacquered Goldsmith’s box with steel balances weights and tools. – Qajar Iran, about 1840

This elaborate toolkit for weighing jewellery includes gold-inlaid scissors, tweezers, measuring spoons, scales and a set of weights which fit into custom-made sections. Inside the lid is a mirror.

The top of the lid depicts Solomon enthroned, surrounded by angels, courtiers, demons, animals and his wise messenger, the hoopoe bird. Hunting scenes with Qajar princes decorate the side of the box.

The biblical King Solomon features in the Qur’an as Prophet Sulaiman who spoke languages of the birds animals and wielded power over all creatures, real and fantastic, with justice and wisdom.

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The thing that attracted me the most about this box was the picture painted at the top. That is the picture at the top of this post.

King Solomon has always been a very interesting character for me. All the three big monolithic religions of the world: Judaism, Christianity and Islam hold him as one of the greatest and the strongest Prophet and ruler of the Earth.

My next post deals with the Story of Solomon according to a Muslim Historian.


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