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    Sale 7630

    Russian Works of Art

    24 November 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 23

    A walrus ivory casket


    Price Realised  


    A walrus ivory casket
    Archangel, mid-19th century
    Rectangular, on four bracket feet, the exterior applied with carved, engraved, painted or dyed walrus ivory panels, depicting lions, birds, hunting dogs, flowers, an urn and geomtric patterns, a small swing handle to the front of the hinged cover, apparently unmarked
    11 in. (28.1 cm.) long

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    Carving from walrus and mammoth ivory has had a long tradition within popular Russian folk art since the Middle Ages originating in the northern regions. Archangelsk, located on the White Sea coast, was an important trading city in Russia's far north, in particulary known as a centre of walrus ivory trade. During the 18th century it produced a highly original and high quality range of carved ivory objects including caskets, toilet boxes and combs. Often the most sophisticated examples incorporated pierced panels of people and animlas drawing on Western European design sources. These designs reached the region through carvers who customarily trained in Moscow and especially St. Petersburg for several years before returning to their native region. For similar examples see I. N. Ukhanova, Bone carving in Russia in the 18th and 19th centuries, 1981, pp. 107-110.
    For more complex examples, see A. Odom and L.P. Arend, A Taste for Splendor: Russian Imperial and European treasures from the Hillwood Museum, exhibition catalogue, 1998, pp. 136-38.

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