Qalamdan Hermes Silk Scarf

So what exactly is a “qalamdan” anyway?

Catherine Baschet designed this iconic Hermes scarf in 1990. Filled with intricate detail, her creation depicts several qalamdans, which are Persian boxes for storing pens.

Qalamdan Hermes Silk Scarf
Designed by Catherine Baschet and issued in 1990
Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Faqscl / CC BY-SA (
Qalamdan Photo courtesy Los Angeles County Museum of Art / Public domain

The Qalamdan, or pen box, was considered a status symbol in Iran during the 18th and 19th centuries. During this time period Iran’s production of painted lacquered objects including the qalamdan gained tremendous popularity among the elite.

Flowers and birds were among some of the favorite themes and lacquer painters took great pride in their creations with individual styles, many times dating and signing their pieces. Emphasis on a lot of detail was paramount and even if a qalamdan lacked in color it certainly made up in detail by the careful shading of the flowers and vegetation.

Madame Baschet’s Qalamdan does lack neither color nor detail…

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