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Dagger handle

Dagger handle

  • Place of origin:

    Paris (or possibly German, probably Cologne , made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1300-1320 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Elephant ivory

  • Museum number:

    278-1867

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This is an ivory handle of a dagger made in about 1300-1320 in Paris or possibly also Germany, probably Cologne. The corners of this handle are formed by the heads of two women, a monk, and a man whose hair is bound with a fillet. In the centre on each side is the head of a bearded man within a lozenge.

Four other ivory dagger handles of a similar type are known. Daggers with decorated handles, probably more ceremonial than functional must have been made in good numbers in France and Germany in the Gothic period, and it is to be expected that a popular type, once established, would be copied in various workshops. René of Anjou (1409-1480) seems to have possessed an identical dagger to the present example, possibly handed down to him, which is described in a 1471-72 inventory of Angers Castle.
Similar dagger handles may be seen on 14th century effigies on tombs throughout Europe.

Physical description

Handle of a dagger, the corners of the handle are formed by the heads of two women (one with wimple), a monk, and a youth whose hair is bound with a fillet. In the centre on each side is the head of a bearded man within a lozenge, that on one side also wearing a pointed hat.

Place of Origin

Paris (or possibly German, probably Cologne , made)

Date

ca. 1300-1320 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Elephant ivory

Dimensions

Height: 13.5 cm including heads, Width: 7.8 cm at top, Width: 7 cm at bottom, Height: 21.1 cm at centre

Object history note

In the possession of John Webb, London, by 1862 (London 1862, cat. no. 151); purchased from Webb in 1867, for £48.

Descriptive line

Dagger handle, ivory, decorated with head of two women, a man and a monk, France (Paris) or possibly German (Cologne?), ca. 1300-1320

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

Inventory of Art Objects acquired in the Year 1867. Inventory of the Objects in the Art Division of the Museum at South Kensington, arranged According to the Dates of their Acquisition. Vol. 1. London : Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., 1868, p. 7
Longhurst, Margaret H. Catalogue of Carvings in Ivory. London: Published under the Authority of the Board of Education, 1927-1929, Part II, p. 50
Blair, Claude. The Word 'Baselard'. Journal of the Arms and Armour Society. 11, 1984, pp. 193-206
Müller, Theodor. Ein Früher Gotischer Prinkdolch. Pantheon. 33, 1975, pp. 203-207, figs. 5, 6
pp. 112-113
Maskell, W., A Description of the Ivories Ancient and Medieval in the South Kensington Museum, London, 1872
I, pp. 422-423, II, cat. no. 1141, III, pl. CXC
Koechlin, R., Les Ivoires gothiques français, 3 vols, Paris, 1924 (reprinted Paris 1968)
part II, pp. 642-645
Williamson, Paul and Davies, Glyn, Medieval Ivory Carvings, 1200-1550, (in 2 parts), V&A Publishing, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2014
Williamson, Paul and Davies, Glyn, Medieval Ivory Carvings, 1200-1550, (in 2 parts), V&A Publishing, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2014, part II, pp. 642-645, cat. no. 224

Materials

Ivory

Subjects depicted

Women; Monk; Figures

Categories

Sculpture; Accessories

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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