Exhibitions/ Art Object
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Knife

Date:
early 16th century
Culture:
Netherlandish
Medium:
Boxwood, steel, and silver
Dimensions:
Overall: 17 1/2 × 2 1/4 × 1 3/8 in. (44.5 × 5.7 × 3.5 cm) Handle only: 4 3/8 × 1 3/4 × 1 3/8 in. (11.1 × 4.4 × 3.5 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture-Miniature-Wood
Credit Line:
Musée du Louvre, Département des Objets d’art, Paris (OA 5611)
Not on view
Running along the edge of the handle is Jesus’ family tree, known as the Tree of Jesse, which links him to King David, to the town of Bethlehem, and to Isaiah’s prophecies about the coming of the Messiah. The other images connect events from Jesus’ life to Hebrew Scripture, above all the Last Supper, in which Jesus gave bread and wine to his followers, with the priest Melchizedek serving bread and wine to Abraham (Genesis 14:18).

The inscription—"Happiness is without end; faithfulness my whole life long"—suggests that the knife was made in celebration of a wedding.