The figures of Eve and the serpent are carved on either side of the Tree of Knowledge. The serpent has a woman's head and may represent Lilith, the legendary first wife of Adam, who rebelled against her husband and disappeared from Paradise. God consequently created Eve from Adam's rib. In jealousy Lilith tempted Eve with the forbidden fruit. The seven fruits represented on the base may be associated with the seven vices that stemmed from the Tree of Knowledge. The common medieval association of Eve, the mother of humankind, with Mary, the mother of God, suggests that this base may have supported a statuette of the Virgin.
Rodolphe Hirsch Kann 1844–1905, Paris ; Mortimer L. Schiff, New York ; [ Raphael Stora, Paris and New York] ; [ Brummer Gallery, Paris and New York (in 1940; sold 1949)] ; Irwin Untermyer, New York (purchased 1949) ; [ Ruth and Leopold Blumka, New York (sold 1955)]
Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "The Middle Ages: Treasures from The Cloisters and The Metropolitan Museum of Art," January 18, 1970–March 29, 1970.
Chicago. Art Institute of Chicago. "The Middle Ages: Treasures from The Cloisters and The Metropolitan Museum of Art," May 16, 1970–July 5, 1970.
Kann, Rodolphe. Catalogue of the Rodolphe Kann Collection: Objets d'Art. Vol. 1. Paris, 1907. no. 16, p. 6.
Loan Exhibition of Religious Art for the Benefit of the Basilique of the Sacré-Cœur of Paris, at the galleries of Jacques Seligmann & Company, Inc., March-April 1927. New York: Jacques Seligmann & Co., 1928. pl. XV (shown as base).
Arts of the Middle Ages: A Loan Exhibition. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1940. no. 186, p. 57.
Part Two of the Notable Art Collection Belonging to the Estate of the Late Joseph Brummer. New York: Parke-Bernet Galleries, May 11–14, 1949. no. 408, pp. 96-7.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Eighty-Fifth Annual Report of the Trustees for the Fiscal Year 1954-1955." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 14, no. 1 (Summer 1955). p. 15.
Hoffeld, Jeffrey M. "Adam's Two Wives." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 26, no. 10 (June 1968). pp. 432-33, fig. 4.
Ostoia, Vera K. The Middle Ages: Treasures from the Cloisters and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1969. no. 100, pp. 214-215, 261.
Artist: Attributed to Niclaus Gerhaert von Leyden (North Netherlandish, active Strasbourg, ca. 1462–died 1473 Vienna)Date: ca. 1470Medium: Boxwood, tinted lips and eyesAccession: 1996.14On view in:Gallery 13