Casket

Italian (Venice)
about 1400
Workshop of Baldassare Embriachi


Object Place: Europe, Venice, Italy

Dimensions

17.5 x 20.5 cm (6 7/8 x 8 1/16 in.)

Accession Number

33.641

Medium or Technique

Ivory, bone and iron

On View

Alyce Morrissey Gallery (Kunstkammer) (Gallery 143)

Collections

Europe

Classifications

Boxes

Bone panels carved with human and animal figures. Bands of inlay in herringbone design in brown, green and white. Heavy mouldings and high-domed hinged cover with brass handle. Alternating horn and bone on edge of cover. Red satin lining. Traces of painting in red and blue on bottom. Panel on one end, strips of bone around base, one piece each of horn and bone missing. Wrought iron key. Hinged lid.


This casket is typical of the production of the bone-carving workshop founded by Baldassare Embriachi (active about 1390-1409), and is decorated with wood inlays and carved bone panels. These boxes were usually made to celebrate a marriage, possibly as part of a dowry, and were used to hold jewels, small pieces of lace, and other small luxury items belonging to the bride. Fittingly, they were often decorated with scenes from ancient or medieval chivalric poetry, like this one that displays scenes from the story of the ancient hero Jason. Winged creatures hold shields that would have been decorated with heraldic devices of the families of the bride and groom.

Provenance

By 1930, Frank Gair Macomber (b. 1849 - d. 1941), Boston; 1933, gift of Frank Gair Macomber to the MFA. (Accession Date: November 2, 1933)

Credit Line

Gift of Frank Gair Macomber