This part of the handle of a fan is made by an unknown artist possibly in France or perhaps the Netherlands in ca. 1650. It is of ivory and carved with Renaissance, grotesque ornaments and the half-length figure of a woman.
Elephant and walrus ivory and whalebone are prepared for carving by removing the outer layer, known as the ‘husk’ or ‘cementum’ (see below). The tusk is then sawn into the appropriate shape for a figure or relief. The carver uses small knives, chisels, gouges and files, very similar to those used for wood carving. After polishing, ivory can be stained or partially painted or gilded.