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The Crucifixion

  • Object:

    Statuette

  • Place of origin:

    Goa (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1700 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved ivory, partly painted and gilded, metal nails.

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dr W. L. Hildburgh FSA in 1927

  • Museum number:

    A.65-1927

  • Gallery location:

    Europe 1600-1815, Room 7, The Sheikha Amna Bint Mohammed Al Thani Gallery, case CA6

This statuette represents Christ hanging as if suspended from the cross (now missing). Because of the pose of the arms, raised almost vertically, the sculptor has been able to fashion the figure from one piece of ivory, following in broad terms the shape of the tusk. Part of the loincltoth, the drapery proturding from Christ's left hip, has however been carved separately and added.
The large ivory figure is typical of the Christian ivories produced in Goa on the West coast of India, when it was under Portuguese rule. Local artists specialising in ivory carving made such pieces, usually under the direction of Portuguese missionaries. Most of these ivories were made as luxury items for export to Europe, although some were used to try to convert the local people to Catholicism. Goa was the second base in India to be established by the Portuguese, having been conquered by Alfonso de Albuquerque (about 1453-1515) during the reign of Manuel I of Portugal initially in 1510, and then reconquered in 1512. Portugal was interested first and foremost in trade, and the discovery of India was motivated by a desire to dominate trade-routes.

Physical description

Carved ivory figure of Christ on the cross from a crucifix, partly painted. The head is raised looking upwards. The hair is darkened and the wounds painted in red. His arms stretching up above his head; his feet are held by two nails. The figure is made from one piece of ivory with one small part of the loincloth, protruding from Christ's left hip, carved separately. The elaborately folded loincloth is held by a knotted rope. He looks up, his eyes and mouth open, and his teeth visible. Red pigment has been applied to the wounds, and brown to the hair; the loincloth is partly gilt.

Place of Origin

Goa (made)

Date

ca. 1700 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Carved ivory, partly painted and gilded, metal nails.

Dimensions

Height: 53 cm, Width: 14 cm, Depth: 9 cm

Object history note

This piece was catalogued by Longhurst as Portuguese, but identified as Goan by Estella Marcos, who sites a similar crucifix, formerly on the art market.
This large ivory figure is typical of the Christian ivories produced in Goa on the West coast of India, when it was under Portuguese rule.

Descriptive line

Statuette, ivory, partly painted, figure of the Crucifixion, Indo-Portuguese (Goa), ca. 1700

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Longhurst, Margaret H. Catalogue of Carvings in Ivory. London: Published under the Authority of the Board of Education, 1929, Part II, p. 113
Estella Marcos, Margarita M. La escultura barroca de marfil en España : las escuelas europeas y las coloniales. Madrid, 1984, II, p. 362, cat. 822
pp. 377, 378
Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013
Trusted, Marjorie, Baroque & Later Ivories, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 2013, pp. 377, 378, cat. no. 374

Materials

Ivory

Techniques

Carved; Painted

Subjects depicted

Cross

Categories

Christianity; Sculpture; Religion

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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