Ivory

The Ivory Collection of the holdings of the Museum of Arts and Crafts, the only fairly early created complete collection of the kind in Croatia, makes up a well rounded whole with artefacts of European origin of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Within this corpus, individual groups of typologically and thematically similar objects characteristic of the production of the artistically worked ivory in these periods can be distinguished. As early as 1893, the first ivory object was acquired for the future collection, the so-called contrefait sphere. With a fairly large number of ivory acquisitions, the museum collection of ivory was much enriched with worthwhile pieces by the purchase of the Jakob frank collection in 1906. With their character and quality these works constituted the basic holdings of the collection and determine its profile. Over the course of time, the existing holdings were successively built upon with similar artefacts, with objects that were to the greatest extent donated. Along with several items from the collection of Salomon Berger, founder and first director of the Ethnographic Museum, a number of objects derive from private persons, many of whom in their origin and activity occupied an important place in the Croatian cultural setting. A number of individual items were bought from Zagreb antique dealers.

The holdings of artefacts in the collection made in the 17th and 18th century consist of figurines and reliefs of mythological and religious subjects, and the occasional scene of a profane nature. A folding sphere is shown in the permanent display, inside of which is a miniature relief depiction of a Symposium (feast), two smaller relief depictions of a siege of a city and a cart passing through a forest, probably showing some of the scenes from the Thirty Years’ War, then a relief with a depiction of a sea battle, which might have taken place in 1692 off Cap La Hogue, Normandy. Along with a figurine and relief of Diana, goddess of the hunt, there are also crucifixes and bodies of Christ, one of which is dated by its inscribed 1627, a small household altar Virgin with child characteristic of south Italian work, a relief of Archangel Michael and St. Sebastian and a relief of the Adoration of the Shepherds.

Nineteenth century ivory work is represented by, among other things, a statuette of Flora, signed with the name of the English sculptor John Gibson, pupil of Antonio Canova, and the ivory relief portraits and miniatures that were exceptionally popular in this period.

Also shown are items of a utilitarian and decorative nature such as buttons, parasol and walking stick handles, various containers, boxes and snuff boxes, small busts showing emperors and other dignitaries of the Habsburg Empire, seals with ivory handles, sometimes in the form of the mentioned busts, and characteristic jewellery with floral decorations in the form of bunches of roses, wreaths of various flowers, motifs of a hand with a rose, the so-called Erbach motif, and jewellery with motifs of forest and hunting scenes characteristic of Biedermeier.

Advertisements