Carved ivory sword hilt

Southern Germany, possibly by Johann Michael Maucher (1645–1701)
ca. 1700
6 1/4 × 6 1/8 × 2 1/2 in. (15.9 × 15.6 × 6.4 cm)
Gift of Alexis Gregory, 2021
Photo Joseph Coscia Jr.


This hilt is described in an eighteenth-century inventory as an “ivory hunting knife, artistically made.” The knife was likely created to be displayed in a Kunstkammer (cabinet of curiosities). The intricately carved scene depicts a hunt, with interlocking horses, dogs, bears, elk, wild boars, rams, antelope, and foxes. Ivory in Europe came primarily from African elephants, as the pale color and workability of their tusks were highly favored.

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