Carved and inlaid woodwork was produced throughout Ottoman history. Fifteenth and sixteenth century examples were made of walnut or ebony inlaid with ivory, but mother-of-pearl was added to the repertoire during the 1550's and tortoiseshell began to be widely used at the end of that century. After 1600, mother-of-pearl and tortoiseshell used in combination became extremely popular in luxury furniture, storage chests, writing boxes, and bookstands. Similar materials and techniques were used in decorating doors, window shutters, and cupboards in secular and religious buildings.
This splendid storage chest reflects a classic Ottoman shape and its sumptuous veneer and inlay, comprised of expensive, exotic materials is in perfect keeping with aristocratic taste. The geometric makeup of the pattern, with its separation into separate panels and the combination of rectilinear and curvilinear forms is characteristics of much Islamic decorative art.