Unknownabout 1100

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Oliphant is the medieval French word for elephant. African elephant ivory, one of the most precious materials used in medieval art, came to southern Italian ports through trade with the Islamic east as early as the tenth century. Oliphants were primarily intended for display although they were fashioned like horns for hunting and war. The graphic hunting scenes carved on one oliphant in this case may allude to the owner's prowess on the fields of battle and the hunt. The delicate, abstract carving on the second oliphant reflects the influence of Egyptian art and the cultural exchanges resulting from international trade.

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  • Title: Oliphant
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: about 1100
  • Physical Dimensions: h534 mm
  • Type: Decorative arts
  • Rights: Maria Antoinette Evans Fund. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. All Rights Reserved.
  • External Link: http://www.mfa.org/collections/object/oliphant-57618
  • Medium: Ivory
  • City, state, country: Amalfi, Southern Italy