Concatenated spiked spheres on a pole


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 520

This work, even with its interlocking spheres and spikes, was turned from a single piece of solid ivory. Complex, interlocking geometric forms reflect the importance of turning and of geometry as integral parts of a princely education. Turning ivory demanded concentration, as a turner could easily damage a piece if their attention wavered. The art form was widely understood as a metaphor for good governance because people believed a ruler who made a similar slip could endanger the integrity of the realm.

Concatenated spiked spheres on a pole, Ivory, German

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