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Collection du duc d'Arenberg, Villefranche, 1970
Collection privée, Zurich.
Vente Christie's Genève, 15 mai 1995, lot 78.
Vincent Laloux, Bruxelles.
Post Lot Text
A GERMAN SILVER-GILT MOUNTED OSTRICH EGG CUP AND COVER
HANAU, LATE 19TH CENTURY
The base chased with rocks and foliage within ropework and ribbon band, resting on large stylized openwork foliage, the shell body and cover with applied wings, tail and head, the cover with central straps and feather finial
The ostrich was adopted as a symbol of the ironmaker's guild from the 13th century as the animal was believed to be able to eat anything including iron. Indeed, some models of ostriches are shown with a horse shoe in their beak.
Most of the surviving mounted ostrich eggs date from the 16th century and early 17th century. In the 19th century many goldsmiths, including Fabergé, used these earlier cups as a source of inspiration for their own work.