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Casket

  • Place of origin:

    Gdansk (probably, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1670-1680 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Museum number:

    A.11:1-1926

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This casket, probably made in Danzig, in about 1670-1680, was perhaps originally intended as a jewellery box. Clear and opaque amber panels and pierced ivory reliefs depicting scenes derived from various engraved sources have been applied to a wooden core. The common use of three different engraved sources, Visscher, Hermann and Collaert, on the lost amber throne and A.11-1926, suggests that this casket might have originated from the same workshop that was responsible for the throne, although it is evident that these sources were popular amongst amber and ivory workers.

Physical description

Casket, clear and opaque amber panels and pierced ivory reliefs have been applied to a wooden core. The metal mounts are embossed with a leaf design. The ivory reliefs on the lid are as follow: at the front, Minerva, at the back, an eagle and trophy of weapons, with two floral designs at the sides. On the front of the main body of the casket are two pierced ivory reliefs of Music and Phetoric respectively, represented by two female figures. Below them are two pierced ivory reliefs of warriors in classical costume. On either side of the pair of warriors are two pierced ivory reliefs of Actaeon hunting deer, and Arcas, Callisto (transformed into a bear), and Jupiter. On the sides of the casket are pierced ivory relief of the Four Continents and below the continents are representations of the Four Ancient Rulers on horseback, each trampling a vanquished foe underfoot, and accompanied by a heraldic animal. On the left side, Ninus of Assyria, the first Ruler, carries a banner bearing a lion. On the same side is Cyrus, Emperor of Persian, who carries a banner bearing a lamb, and is accompanied by a bear. On the right side is Alexander the Great, carrying a banner with a ram, and with a hydra as his heraldic animal. The fourth Ruler, Julius Caesar, has as his heraldic animal a mythical beast, and carries the casces of Rome instead of a banner. On the back of the casket are four pierced ivory reliefs representing the four elements, Air, Earth, Fire and Water. In the centre is an ivory relief of Meleager hunting the Calydonian boar.

On the front, carved in clear red amber, is a central relief of the Virgin and Child with two music-making angels, flanked by reliefs of Justice and Prudence. Below are Temperance, Fortitude and Patience or Humility (a female figure with two lambs). Below them is a trophy of a bow and arrows. On each side of the casket is a medallion also in deep relief in clear red amber, of a carved head, and on the back an oval varving of fruit. On the horizontal edge of the lid are amber carvings of fruit and birds, and a representation of Abundance (?) and Harvest (?).

Place of Origin

Gdansk (probably, made)

Date

ca. 1670-1680 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Dimensions

Height: 34 cm, Width: 44.5 cm, Depth: 30.8 cm

Descriptive line

Casket with amber panels and ivory reliefs. Danzig, ca. 1670-1680.

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

Kappel, Jutta. Bernsteinkunst aus dem Grünen Gewölbe. Dresdener Kunstblätter. 49, 2005. 2. p. 77.
Trusted, Marjorie. Catalogue of European ambers in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London, 1985. cat. no. 16.

Materials

Amber; Ivory; Wood; Metal

Subjects depicted

Four Continents; Trophy; Eagle; Birds; Females; Banner; The Four Elements; Warrior; Flowers; Horse; Angels; Deer; Fasces; Animals

Categories

Sculpture

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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