H. 14 1/2 in. (36.8 cm)
Gift of Robert Gordon, 1910 (10.212.2a,b)
The technique of forming objects on a lathe, or turning, reached a high degree of complexity in the Renaissance and Baroque eras, when French, Italian, and Central European workshops produced paper-thin hollowed-out shapes from single blocks of ivory. Clerics and noblemen embraced turning as a hobby. Among the rulers who collected masterpieces of turning for their Kunstkammern and practiced the art themselves were the Holy Roman Emperors Maximilian II (r. 1564–76), Rudolf II (r. 1576–1612), and Ferdinand III (r. 1619–37). The eccentric form of this cup exemplifies Mannerist taste in Central Europe, though the most challenging aspect of its creation was concocting the lacy hollows that form the stem and spire.