Every once in a while, well actually more on a very regular basis, some amazing artifacts come to our studio to be photographed. Last week, Jennifer Kinnaird of the Western Art and Culture Dept, European Decorative Arts section, brought me an ivory artifact to photograph. It is a hinged triptych, approximatly 40 x 60cm high, dating to the early 15th century. Its arrangement of central scenes and single figures in the wings is similar to that of many painted altar-pieces in Italy in the late 1300s and early 1400s. The upper centre shows Crucifixion scene carved in five pieces. Lower centre: Baptism of Christ by John with four figures on left and two on right, carved on four panels. The wood is possible walnut and the inlay is white and green bone.
The detail is amazing. I especially like to get close to see the fine details - and wonder at the craftsmanship and time which went into producing a piece such as this. The photos show the full triptych, the upper centre, a detail the inlaid edges between the centre section and the wings and the inlay on the base.
The accession number is 921.8.1