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    Sale 7623

    Important Early European Furniture, Sculpture and Tapestries

    6 November 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 511

    A CARVED IVORY RELIEF OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST

    CHINESE-JESUIT, LATE 17TH OR EARLY 18TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A CARVED IVORY RELIEF OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST
    CHINESE-JESUIT, LATE 17TH OR EARLY 18TH CENTURY
    Depicted in a stylised landscape setting, dressed in an animal-skin tunic, with a reed cross in his left hand and flanked by the Lamb of God to his right; bordered by an integrally carved frame; two small drill holes at the top
    3 in. (7.5 cm.) high


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    In 1540 Pope Paul III gave papal permission for the foundation of The Society of Jesus led by the converted Spanish Basque soldier St. Ignatius Loyola. Along with a band of highly intellectual missionaries he aimed to teach moral and religious instruction in an effort to make devotional life accessible for all. From the mid-16th century onwards Francis Xavier (1506-1552) and Matteo Ricci (1552-1610), two such disciples, reached the depths of Goa and China respectively, establishing Christian communities and colleges for training priests. Reliefs such as the present lot, made from indigenous materials, were produced on a large scale by these communities and very often for export to the Hispanic colonies. They functioned as a portable aid to prayer allowing the pious to be close to God in any context.

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    Pre-Lot Text

    THE PROPERTY OF A LADY