Ivory Horn

This is very ornate example of a 16th century carved ivory horn. The mouthpiece at the tip of the horn is depicted emerging from the fanged jaws of an animal head, following through to the body of the horn, which is covered in low relief carving. This section includes fantastical European creatures, and African animals such as crocodiles and serpents. The base of the horn is carved with the Coat of Arms of the Portuguese royal house. It is very similar to an example at the British Museum, accession number BM:Af.1979.1.3156. This is an example of an Afro-Portuguese ivory, a term used to indicate items from Sierra Leone and Nigeria, made for a Portuguese market in the 15th and 16th centuries. Such items display a mixture of African and European elements and motifs in their overall form and ornamentation, and were considered prestige items across Europe. A more specific term for items patronised in Sierra Leone, is Sapi-Portuguese.

Further Information

  • Type: Ivories
  • Object: Ivory Horn
  • Materials: Bone, ivory, tooth
  • Culture Group: Other
  • Dimensions: 572mm
  • Production Date: Sixteenth Century
  • Associated Places: Sierra Leone (Created)
  • Associated People: Joseph Mayer (Donor)
  • Museum: World Museum Liverpool Sierra Leone Collection
  • Accession Number: LIVCM.M13014

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