A Frisian silver marriage casket
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A Frisian silver marriage casket


A Frisian silver marriage casket
Circa 1630, maker's mark indistinct
Rectangular, on four ball feet, with stepped rim, the front finely engraved with two oval medallions, each with elegant figures, stiff foliage and auricular strapwork, with gilt cherub-shaped applied lock, the sides each with an engraved oval medallion and with gallant scene, the reverse with 'The Last Supper' in an architectural setting and scrolling floral ornament, the domed cover centred with a medallion engraved with an elegant man and woman holding hands, flanked by two flaming hearts pierced with arrows, inscribed 'In liefde bestaet het al' and 'Getrout tot in den Doot', amid flowers and foliage, marked under base
8 cm. (3 1/8 in.) long
129 gr. (4 oz.)
Anonymous sale; Christie's, Amsterdam, 24 November 1998, lot 493 (to Dreesmann).
Dr Anton C.R. Dreesmann (inventory no. G-139).
Special notice

Christie's charges a Buyer's premium calculated at 20.825% of the hammer price for each lot with a value up to €90,000. If the hammer price of a lot exceeds €90,000 then the premium for the lot is calculated at 20.825% of the first €90,000 plus 11.9% of any amount in excess of €90,000. Buyer's Premium is calculated on this basis for each lot individually.
Sale room notice
Please note that is was suggested that the maker's mark is of Jan Jacobs Munninckhuis, Bolsward, 1663-1709 and not as stated in the printed catalogue

Lot Essay

From the early 17th century it became a Frisian tradition that a man asked his beloved to marry him by presenting her with a coin knotted into a costly cloth. This cloth is named knottedoek after the special knot, knotte. If the girl drew the knot tighter, they considered themselves engaged. The knottedoek was later replaced by a small textile bag and in the late seventeenth century by a silver casket, which by analogy was called a knottekistje. Three types occur, trunk-shaped, hexagonal and circular. The most common type is the trunk-shaped on four ball supports with domed cover and swing handle. Frisian marriage caskets are delicately engraved with symbolic scenes concerning love and marriage. Apart from Friesland, they were also made in West-Friesland, the most northern part of Holland (see L. van den Bergh-Hoogterp, 'Trouw moet blinken', Cachet (1999) 2/3, pp. 10-13; A.L. Den Blaauwen, Nederlands Zilver 1580-1830, Den Haag, 1979, pp. 19, 372-373; E. Voet jr., Merken van Friese Goud- en Zilversmeden, The Hague, 1974, pp. 83-84; B.W.G. Wttewaal, Klein Nederlands Zilver, Amsterdam, 1987, pp. 286-287).


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