Exceptional and Finely Carved German Ivory Vanitas
Exceptional and Finely Carved German Ivory Vanitas
Exceptional and Finely Carved German Ivory Vanitas
Exceptional and Finely Carved German Ivory Vanitas

Exceptional and Finely Carved German Ivory Vanitas

1600 to 1700 German

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An Exceptional and Finely Carved German Ivory Vanitas
Of a partly decomposed human skull, a salamander and snake curling through the hair
Early 17th Century

Size: 4.5cm high, 7cm deep, 4.5cm wide – 1¾ ins high, 2¾ ins deep, 1¾ ins wide
Provenance: Ex Robert Noortman collection
See: Finch and Co catalogue no. 4, item no. 48, for another ivory example, catalogue no. 8, item no. 99, for a fruitwood example and catalogue no. 10, item no. 79, for a silver example

The macabre motif of the skull with attached tattered scraps of skin dangling from the face, invaded by vermin, with exposed muscles in a state of decomposition conveys the idea of transience and death memorably and terribly. The skull is a warning symbol and an object for meditation, ‘Memento Mori’.

Medium
Ivory
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