Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Game Piece with Samson Slaying the Philistines with the Jawbone of an Ass

Elephant ivory, red stain
Overall: 2 1/2 x 1/2 in. (6.3 x 1.3 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 304
The treatise written for craftsmen by the early-twelfth-century monk Theophilus recommends using the red root of the madder plant to stain ivory. Staining allowed one side to be easily distinguished from the other, which was often left unpainted.
Georges Hoentschel (French, Paris 1855–1915 Paris); J. Pierpont Morgan, London and New York (until 1917)
Cologne, Germany. Museum Schnütgen. "Glanz und Größe des Mittelalters: Kölner Meisterwerke aus den großen Sammlungen der Welt," November 4, 2011–February 26, 2012.

Migeon, Gaston. "La Collection de M. Paul Garnier: II. – Objets d'Art du Moyen Age et de la Renaissance." Les Arts 53 (May 1906). p. 14.

Pératé, André. Collections Georges Hoentschel: Ivoires, orfèvrerie religieuse, pierres. Vol. 2. Paris: Librairie Centrale des Beaux-Arts, 1911. no. 13, fig. XII.

Breck, Joseph. "Pre-Gothic Ivories in the Pierpont Morgan Collection." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, o.s., 15, no. 1 (January 1920). p. 16.

Goldschmidt, Adolph. Die Elfenbeinskulpturen aus der romanischen Zeit, XI.-XIII. Jahrhundert. Vol. 3. Berlin: Bruno Cassirer, 1923. no. 177, pp. 7, 9, 43, pl. LIII.

Breck, Joseph, and Meyric R. Rogers. The Pierpont Morgan Wing: A Handbook. 1st ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1925. p. 50.

Breck, Joseph, and Meyric R. Rogers. The Pierpont Morgan Wing: A Handbook. 2nd ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1929. p. 50.

Weitzmann, Kurt. "Samson and Delilah on a Draughtsman." Record of the Art Museum, Princeton University 7 (1948). no. 2, p. 6.

Beckwith, John. Ivory Carvings in Early Medieval England. London: Harvey Miller Publishers, 1972. no. 118, p. 146, fig. 222, ill. p. 155.

Mann, Vivian B. "Romanesque Ivory Tablemen." PhD diss., New York University, 1977. no. 99, p. 266.

Gaborit-Chopin, Danielle. Ivoires Médiévaux, Ve-XVe siècle. Paris: Musée du Louvre, 2003. pp. 251-52.

Mann, Vivian B. "The Samson and Hercules Tablemen: A Case for Jewish Patronage in 12th Century Cologne." In Art and Ceremony in Jewish Life. London: Pindar Press, 2005. p. 156.

Williamson, Paul. Medieval Ivory Carvings: Early Christian to Romanesque. London: V & A Publications, 2010. pp. 426, 427, fig. 1, 2.

Täube, Dagmar, and Miriam Verena Fleck, ed. Glanz und Größe des Mittelalters: Kölner Meisterwerke aus den großen Sammlungen der Welt. Munich: Hirmer Verlag, 2011. no. 9, pp. 253–54.

Bardiès-Fronty, Isabelle, and Anne-Elizabeth Dunn-Vaturi, ed. Art du Jeu, Jeu dans l'Art: De Babylone à l’Occident Médiéval. Paris: Musée National du Moyen Âge - Thermes et Hôtel de Cluny, 2012. no. 112, p. 117.

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