Rare Turned Ivory Smooth Hollow Sphere with Four Apertures the Puzzle Ball Containing Two Loose Gaming Pieces and Two Moveable Dice

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Object Description

Rare German ‘Wunderkammer’ Turned Puzzle Ball
A Rare Turned Ivory Smooth Hollow Sphere with Four Apertures the Puzzle Ball Containing Two Loose Gaming Pieces and Two Moveable Dice Inside Two Turned Rhombic Dodecahedron
17th Century

Size: a. 5.5cm dia – 2¼ ins dia.

Object Literature

In the circa 1596 inventory of the collection of Ambras Castle in Innsbruck, famous as an early cabinet of curiosities, turned spheres such as these are listed as ‘works of art’. Regarded as wonders of virtuoso turning, the art of making such objects formed an integral part of the education of noble European princes from the 16th to the 18th century. In 1605 Maximilian, Duke of Bavaria, summarised the pride felt in creating art from nature by engraving on an ivory vessel he produced: ‘Ebur Ars Nobilitat, Artem Auctor Maximilianus Dux Bavaria’, ‘Art ennobles ivory, the creator (of this vessel) Maximilian Duke of Bavaria on the other hand, ennobles art’.

Object Details

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2 Old Brompton Road
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