© The David Collection

Name of Object:

Fragment of a box with a combination lock


Copenhagen, Denmark

Holding Museum:

The David Collection


Hegira 597 / AD 1200–1201

Type of object:

Box, metal work , cast, silver, copper

Museum Inventory Number:

Inv.no. 1/1984

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Cast and hammered brass, inlaid with silver and copper

Period / Dynasty:

Seljuqs (Great Seljuqs)


Iran, Isfahan?


This combination lock is the work of the astrolabe-maker Muhammad ibn Hamid al-Asturlabi al-Isfahani in 597 H.

The four double dials, each of which can be set in 16 positions, allows for 4,294,967,296 combinations. When the right combination is entered, it releases the inner metal plate, attached both to an external handle and to the locking mechanism itself.

Citation of this web page:

 "Fragment of a box with a combination lock" in Explore Islamic Art Collections , Museum With No Frontiers, 2018. http://www.museumwnf.org/thematicgallery/thg_galleries/database_item.php?itemId=objects;EPM;dn;Mus21;22;en&id=scientific_objects

MWNF Working Number: DN 22

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