Ivory Frigate, carried by Neptune

Jan Zeller1620

Green Vault, Dresden State Art Museums

Green Vault, Dresden State Art Museums

Only a few months before his death, Jacob Zeller completed this magnificent frigate in ivory.The names of the Saxon princes beginning with Harderich, who is said to have lived shortly after the birth of Christ, and ending with the ruling elector Johann Georg I of Saxony are carved into the planks of the ship's stern. Zeller succeeded in doing what seemed artistically and technically impossible: the parchment thin mainsails cut in ivory, apparently billowing in the wind. The coats of arms of the electoral couple, Johann Georg I of Saxony and his consort Magdalena Sibylla of Brandenburg are to be seen in finely carved relief. Tiny seamen in ivory climb the gold wire rigging.

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