Panel with Hunting Scenes


Not on view

The stag hunt, one of the principal secular themes of the Middle Ages, is here eloquently portrayed in ivory. The action begins at the left with hounds and hunters on horseback departing the castle. In a wooded setting women lure falcons, while the hunter has shot an arrow at the stag as hounds torment it; finally, as the stag seeks relief from the waters of a fountain, the hunter delivers the coup de grace with his sword. In medieval poetry such courtly themes were also regarded allegorically as the hunt for love.

The panel originally formed the back of an exceptionally large casket (now lost). The casket is known from an eighteenth- century engraving that shows the conclusion of the hunt, with the stag's head being presented to courtly figures. As key examples of secular ivory carving in Paris during the time of Charles V (1338-1380), the images are rendered with crisp, graphic carving that creates rich surface and spatial effects commensurate with the finest luxury works of the city.

Joining the celebrated secular ivories from the Morgan collection, this panel and three others illustrated here enable the Museum to offer an unparalled glimpse of the secular spirit of the high Middle Ages.

Panel with Hunting Scenes, Ivory, French

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Left to right: The hunters leave the castle; the hunters flush rabbits from holes, train falcons, and attack a deer; a man captures a stag