Art/ Collection/ Collection/ Art Object
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Pyxis

Date:
ca. 950–75
Geography:
Made in Cordoba, Andalusia, Spain
Culture:
Spanish
Medium:
Elephant ivory
Dimensions:
Overall: 4 5/8 x 4 1/8 in. (11.7 x 10.5 cm)
Classification:
Ivories
Credit Line:
The Cloisters Collection, 1970
Accession Number:
1970.324.5
On view at The Met Cloisters in Gallery 14
This exquisitely carved cylindrical box is believed to be one of the most accomplished works of a master from the palace of the Umayyad caliph ‘Abd al-Rahman III (r. 912–61), who ruled most of the Iberian peninsula. To judge from other examples, the missing domed lid of this box likely had an inscription giving the owner’s name and the date. Islamic pyxides, known as ushnan in Arabic, were exclusively secular and were used to store jewelry and cosmetics. The incorporation of birds, lions, and gazelles amid richly carved vine scrolls is typical of dense symmetrical Islamic design, which, in turn, influenced the decoration of European Romanesque ivories and manuscripts.
Count J. Revertera-Salandra(sold Sotheby's, London, May 16, 1958, lot 27) ; Ernst and Marthe Kofler-Truniger, Lucerne (sold 1970)
Catalogue of important works of art: Oriental and European rugs and carpets, tapestries, French clocks and ormolu and fine French furniture. London: Sotheby & Co., May 16, 1958. no. 27, pp. 10–11.

Kühnel, Ernst. "Eine Spanisch-Maurische Elfenbeinpyxis." Pantheon 18, no. 1 (1960). pp. 1–3.

Philippowich, Eugen von. Elfenbein: ein Handbuch für Sammler und Liebhaber. Braunschweig: Klinkhardt & Biermann, 1961. pp. 125–26, fig. 94.

Demoriane, Hélène. "De la Vierge médiévale à la divinité Egyptienne: La Collection Kofler dévoile ses trésors." Connaissance des Arts 148 (June 1964). ill. p. 98.

Kauffmann, C. M. "The Kofler Collection: An important exhibition in Zürich." The Connoisseur 156, no. 627 (May 1964). p. 19, fig. 5.

Sammlung E. und M. Kofler-Truniger, Luzern: Ausstellung. Zurich: Kunsthaus Zürich, 1964. no. 691, p. 73, pl. 112.

Schnitzler, Hermann, Peter Bloch, and W. F. Volbach. Sammlung E. und M. Kofler-Truniger, Luzern: Skulpturen – Elfenbein, Perlmutter, Stein, Holz; europäisches Mittelalter. Vol. 1. Lucerne: Verlag Räber & Cie, 1964. no. 28, p. 16.

Bloch, Peter, Hermann Schnitzler, Charles Ratton, and W. F. Volbach. "Mittelalterliche Kunst der Sammlung Kofler-Truniger, Luzern." Aachener Kunstblätter 31 (1965). p. 16.

Kühnel, Ernst. Die islamische Elfenbeinskulpturen VII.–XIII. Jahrhundert. Die Elfenbeinskulpturen. Berlin: Deutscher Verlag für Kunstwissenschaft, 1971. no. 29, p. 37, pl. XVI.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "One Hundred First Annual Report of the Trustees for the Fiscal Year July 1, 1970 through June 30, 1971." Annual Report of the Trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art 101 (1971). p. 21.

The New York Times. "Metropolitan Museum Acquires 13 Outstanding Medieval Ivories." The New York Times (December 1, 1972). p. 41.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Notable Acquisitions (Metropolitan Museum of Art) no. 1965/1975 (1975). p. 155.

Philippowich, Eugen von. Elfenbein: ein Handbuch fur Sammler und Liebhaber. Bibliothek für Kunst- und Antiquitätenfreunde, Vol. 17. 2nd ed. Munich: Klinkhardt & Biermann, 1982. p. 143.

Little, Charles T. "Ivory Carving." In Dictionary of the Middle Ages, edited by Joseph R. Strayer. Vol. 7. New York: Scribner, 1986. p. 27.

Mann, Vivian B., Jerrilynn D. Dodds, and T. F. Glick, ed. Convivencia: Jews, Muslims, and Christians in Medieval Spain. New York: Jewish Museum, 1992. no. 87, p. 233.

Les Andalousies de Damas à Cordoue. Paris: Institut du Monde Arabe, 2000. no. 104, pp. 122–23.

Cutler, Anthony. "Ivory Working in Umayyad Córdoba: Techniques and Implications." In The Ivories of Muslim Spain: Papers from a Symposium Held in Copenhagen from the 18th to the 20th of November 2003, edited by Kjeld von Folsach, and Joachim Meyer. Journal of the David Collection, Vol. 2, pt. 1. Copenhagen: The David Collection, 2005. pp. 39–45, fig. 22, 24, 28, (as cat. no. 15).

Norris, Michael. Medieval Art: A Resource for Educators. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005. pp. 13–14, fig. 5.

Von Folsach, Kjeld, and Joachim Meyer, ed. The Ivories of Muslim Spain: Papers from a Symposium Held in Copenhagen from the 18th to the 20th of November 2003. Journal of the David Collection, Vol. 2, pt. 2. Copenhagen: The David Collection, 2005. no. 15, p. 323.

Barnet, Peter, and Atsuyuki Nakahara, ed. Earth, Sea, Sky: Nature in Western Art; Masterpieces from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Tokyo: Yomiuri Shimbun, 2012. no. 56, pp. 109, 230.

Barnet, Peter, and Nancy Y. Wu. The Cloisters: Medieval Art and Architecture. 75th Anniversary ed. New York and New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. p. 26.

Anderson, Glaire D. The Islamic Villa in Early Medieval Iberia: Architecture and Court Culture in Umayyad Córdoba. Burlington: Ashgate, 2013. pp. 88–90, pls. 12, 59.



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