A French carved ivory medallion depicting a man riding a hippocampusprobably 12th century Rhenish

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Lot 4Y
A 12th century North European carved walrus ivory draughtsman depicting a man riding a hippocampus
possibly Rhenish

Sold for £ 1,920 (US$ 2,651) inc. premium
A 12th century North European carved walrus ivory draughtsman depicting a man riding a hippocampus
possibly Rhenish
the border decorated with a zigzag and dots, cracks and chips 4cm diameter

Footnotes

  • Remains of dark patination on the present piece suggest that it was smoked to give it a dark colour and differentiate it from the unsmoked lighter counters when playing draughts. The use of the hippocampus on a draughtsman is unusual, however there is a comparable example in the Victoria and Albert Museum of a draughtsman depicting a man riding a griffin and carrying a hawk, illustrated on page 82 of the 'Catalogue of Carvings in Ivory'. Here Longhurst compares the piece to a stylistically similar piece in the Louvre showing a man riding on a human headed fish, and another in the Musee de Cluny of a man riding a cock. She sites Dr. Goldschmidt who believes that these three may have been part of a series by the same hand, with two other pieces at Florence and Schloss Wolfegg.

    There is also a simlar set in the British Museum, including one with a grotesque design of a human head holding two birds in his mouth, each with a human face; and this combination of grotesque animals and humans was frequently used in the Middle Ages.

    This draughtsman has been examined by the Department of Prehistory and Europe at the British Museum.

    Related Literature: Margaret H. Longhurst 'Catalogue of Carvings in Ivory' Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1927.

    Edited by Janine Wettstein 'Les Ivoires', Tardy, Paris 1966, Page 135.
A French carved ivory medallion depicting a man riding a hippocampusprobably 12th century Rhenish
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Y CITES

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