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Two handled bowl - Labours of the Months

Labours of the Months

  • Object:

    Two handled bowl

  • Place of origin:

    Kaliningrad (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1650 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Amber with silver gilt mount and later nickel-coated brass mount

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dr W. L. Hildburgh FSA

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Sculpture, Room 111, The Gilbert Bayes Gallery, case 2, shelf 1 []

Mother-of-pearl, jet coral and amber were selected by craftsmen for their beauty, durability and rarity. These materials often occurred in a particular geographical region. Coral for example was prevalent in Sicily and amber along the Baltic coast. Many of the religious items were portable, as were the small portraits. They were often made locally and then taken elsewhere. Pilgrims from all over Europe bought the jet images made in Santiago de Compostela.
Although here the iconography of the carvings is purely secular.

Physical description

The twelve main panels of clear amber depict the labours of the months, represented by agricultural labourers in contemporary 17th century costume performing seasonal tasks, except for January who is represented by a gentleman with a lute, and August who appears as a vine-wreathed Bacchic figure. Inside the base is a circular pierced relief of white amber on a black painted foil, under clear amber, depicting quarter-length profiles of a man and woman gazing at each other, the man holding a goblet.

Place of Origin

Kaliningrad (made)


ca. 1650 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Amber with silver gilt mount and later nickel-coated brass mount


Height: 7.5 cm, Diameter: 14.5 cm rim

Object history note

Given by Dr. W. L. Hildburgh, F. S. A.
This bowl probably dates from the period of Jacob Heise's activity: its form is analogous to the bowl attributed to his circle, while the carving continues the tradition begun by Schreiber.

Historical context note

This bowl was almost certainly intended for a Kunstkammer collection.

Descriptive line

Two handled bowl, amber, depicting the labours of the months, Königsberg, ca. 1650

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

Trusted, Marjorie. Catalogue of European Ambers in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London : Victoria and Albert Museum, 1985, p. 139, pl. 256
Kappel, Jutta, Bernsteinkunst aus dem Grünen Gewölbe, Dresden, 2005, p. 61, n. 1


Amber; Silver; Nickel; Brass



Subjects depicted



Sculpture; Food vessels & Tableware; Tableware & cutlery


Sculpture Collection

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