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Medieval Ivory Corpus Christi

Antiquities - Christian


LOT 0370

Estimate
GBP (£) 8,000 - 10,000
EUR (€) 9,420 - 11,770
USD ($) 10,250 - 12,810

Opening Bid: £8,000 (EUR 9,416; USD 10,247)
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MEDIEVAL IVORY CORPUS CHRISTI
Indo-Portuguese, 16th-17th century AD

A carved ivory Corpus Christi figure modelled in the round, broad band to the brow, lozengiform socket to the side of the head, elegantly draped robe and loincloth with decorated belt, emaciated body with prominent ribs, vein detailing to the arms, hair in hanks on the shoulders; holes to the feet and hands; mounted on a custom-made stand. 4.1 kg, 51.5cm (20 1/4"). Very fine condition.

Provenance
Property of a gentleman; from a Mayfair, London, UK, gallery.

Literature
Cf. Bailey, A., Massing, J., and Vassallo e Silva, N., Ivories in the Portuguese Empire, Lisbon, 2013. For a similar piece see The Victoria and Albert Museum, accession number A.66-1927.

Footnotes
This ivory was probably made in Sri Lanka or South India for export to Portugal or to be sent to Portugal and Spain's dominions such as Brazil, Mexico and the Philippines; others still entered aristocratic collections and European cabinets of curiosities as curios and collector's pieces. Juana de Cordoba y Aragon, the Duchess of Frias, is known to have owned around fifty such pieces in 1604. Local artists specialising in ivory carving made such pieces, usually under the direction of Portuguese missionaries. Most of them were made as luxury items for export to Europe, although some were used for use in local churches. These pieces, whether made for export or for local use, were devotional objects, but would also have been highly valued as a work of art, partly because ivory was a rare and costly material.

Many colonial ivories were relatively large, a sign of the rich resources available in the territories conquered by the Europeans. The artists were anonymous, and the pieces undated, but the majority were made during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The ivory was often imported to Sri Lanka from Africa, parts of which had also been invaded by the Portuguese in the sixteenth century, as the elephant tusks there were more suitable for carving.

Date
Tuesday 23rd May 2017 to Saturday 27 May 2017: Antiquities & Coin Catalogue Auction

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Auction Catalogue


Auction Venue:
Emmanuel Centre
9-23 Marsham Street
Westminster
London, SW1P 3DW

Viewing Monday 22nd May 2017 @ Emmanuel Centre, Westminster

Champagne Reception: 6pm - 9pm


Auctions begin @ 10am BST


Auction Venue:
Emmanuel Centre
9 - 23 Marsham Street
Westminster
London, SW1P 3DW

Tuesday 23rd May 2017 (Day 1) - Antiquities (lot 1 - 580)
Wednesday 24th May 2017 (Day 2) - Antiquities (lot 581 - 934)
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Auction Venue:
Old Court House
363 Main Road
Harwich, Essex, CO12 4DN

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