Ivory Mirror Case with a Falconing Party


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 306

This carved ivory plaque once served as the case for a hand mirror. When joined with its mate, the bayonet mount carved into its interior formed a tight grip with the matching side, providing protection for a delicate mirror made of silvered or mercury-lined glass. In fourteenth century France, ivory mirror cases of this type were made by ivory carvers called pigniers, who also specialized in the creation of luxury hygienic articles like combs and hair picks. Among the most popular products of Gothic ivory carvers, the courtly subject matter, elegant carving, and use of a luxury material such as ivory indicate that mirror cases like this one were intended for aristocratic clients; medieval inventories confirm that these objects frequently belonged to such households.

Ivory Mirror Case with a Falconing Party, Elephant ivory, French

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