Hunting scene and dancers thumbnail 1
Hunting scene and dancers thumbnail 2
+4
images
Not currently on display at the V&A

Hunting scene and dancers

Comb
ca. 1440-1470 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This is an ivory comb, made in the South Netherlands in about 1440-1470. It represents a hunting scene on one side and five dancers on the other.

The comb has since the Antiquity been a fundamental tool for personal grooming, used both by men and women. In the Gothic period ivory was often employed for the production of deluxe decorated combs. The Gothic comb is always carved on both faces and consists of two registers of teeth, one fine the other broader, above and below the narrative strips.
Ivory combs, together with mirror cases and gravoirs for parting the hair, formed an essential part of the trousse de toilette or étui (dressing case) of the typical wealthy lady or gentleman in the Gothic period. Considering the original ubiquity of such combs and in comparison with ivory mirror cases, a surprisingly small number survive from the fourteenth century.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Carved elephant ivory
Brief Description
Comb, ivory, with hunting scene and dancers, Sotuh Netherlandish, ca. 1440-1470
Physical Description
Ivory comb with hunting scene and dancers. On one face, five figures are engaged in the moresca, a folk dance popular in the fifteenth century. Two bearded men flank a lady; all three striking the energetic moves of the dance; a musician at the left plays a pipe and tabor, and a fool holding a staff with fool's head cavorts on the right. On the other face is a stag hunt, with an archer at the left firing his bow and striking the stag with an arrow in its hind quarters. The stag is pursued by tow hounds, while a huntsman, holding his spear in his left hand, blows a large horn.
Dimensions
  • Height: 12.7cm
  • At top width: 14.3cm
  • At bottom width: 14.6cm
Object history
In the possession of John Webb, London, by 1862 (London 1862, cat. no. 148); purchased from Webb in 1867, for £14.



Subjects depicted
Summary
This is an ivory comb, made in the South Netherlands in about 1440-1470. It represents a hunting scene on one side and five dancers on the other.



The comb has since the Antiquity been a fundamental tool for personal grooming, used both by men and women. In the Gothic period ivory was often employed for the production of deluxe decorated combs. The Gothic comb is always carved on both faces and consists of two registers of teeth, one fine the other broader, above and below the narrative strips.

Ivory combs, together with mirror cases and gravoirs for parting the hair, formed an essential part of the trousse de toilette or étui (dressing case) of the typical wealthy lady or gentleman in the Gothic period. Considering the original ubiquity of such combs and in comparison with ivory mirror cases, a surprisingly small number survive from the fourteenth century.

Associated Objects
Bibliographic References
  • 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. 6
  • Longhurst, Margaret H. Catalogue of Carvings in Ivory. London: Published under the Authority of the Board of Education, 1927-1929, Part II, p. 54
  • Randall, Richard H. Jr. The Golden Age of Ivory: Gothic Carvings in North American Collections. New York: Hudson Hills Press, 1993, cat. no., 195
  • Maskell, W., A Description of the Ivories Ancient and Medieval in the South Kensington Museum, London, 1872p. 88
  • Winter, F. Die Kämme alter Zeiten von der Steinzeit bis zur Gegenwart (The Rake’s Progress), Leipzig, 1906pl. 40, no. 116
  • Koechlin, R., Les Ivoires gothiques français, 3 vols, Paris, 1924 (reprinted Paris 1968)I, pp. 428, 429, II, cAT. NO. 1153, III, pl. CXCIII
  • Gaborit-Chopin, Danielle. Ivoires Médiévaux, V-XV siècle. Paris, 2003p. 558
  • Williamson, Paul and Davies, Glyn, Medieval Ivory Carvings, 1200-1550, (in 2 parts), V&A Publishing, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2014part II, pp. 624-625
  • 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. 624-625, cat. no. 216
Collection
Accession Number
230-1867

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdAugust 19, 2008
Record URL