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Lot 1181: Renaissance Carved Ivory Pyxis with Scenes from the Life of David
December 7, 2016
Harwich, United KingdomLive Auction
Description: 17th century AD. A carved ivory pyxis with figural frieze to the outer face between deep upper and lower borders; three scenes separated by two walled cities and a tree in leaf: A: a seated David with his sling in his right hand, flanked by a winged and nimbate angel offering him a stone and an armoured and helmeted warrior with sword drawn and right arm extended; B: two armoured and helmeted warriors emerge from a walled city with spears at the ready, the first with a circular shield, behind David with his sling, wearing a flounced tunic and raising his left arm towards an armoured Goliath with an ornate shield brandishing a sword(?), two more armoured warriors advancing with shields and spear; C: a nimbate David with flowing cloak attacking and beheading the fallen Goliath, oversized sword and shield resting on the ground; mounted in a custom-made perspex case. The scenes are influenced by the iconography of a large silver charger from Constantinople, dated to 629-630 AD, found in a hoard at Karavas, Cyprus in 1902 and now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (accession number 17.190.396"). Published in the London, Iconastas 25 year catalogue of treasures, in 1999. 324 grams, 13.5cm excluding case, case: 15 x 19 x 21cm (5 1/4"). Property of a West London gentleman; acquired before 2000. Provided with a radiocarbon dating report issued 20th April 2016 by RCD Lockinge reference RCD-8604. The first scene depicts an angel from God offering David a stone from the river, which he takes into battle for use with his sling. The second scene shows the single combat of David and Goliath between the opposing armies. The third scenes shows the beheading of the Philistine champion whose oversized weapons are discarded in the field.
Condition Report: Very fine condition, some delamination of the rim.