102. A Scribe’s Eraser

South Germany or Italy, circa 1600
Size: 37.5 cm long
Steel, engraved and gilded, and carved bone

It was not designed to stab a negligent scribe when he blotted his copy-book, but rather to scrape off an offending bish from the vellum onto which an assiduous calligrapher was transcribing a sacred text. There is a noble coat-of-arms inlaid in gold on the blade, so this refined instrument comes from a princely scriptorium.