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Casket, with quatrefoils and arches (coffret; quatre-feuilles; frise d'arcatures) (Front)

Casket, with quatrefoils and arches (coffret; quatre-feuilles; frise d'arcatures) (Front)
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End, right


End, left

Body, back






End, left

End, right

Secular. Courtly love. Romance. Châtelaine de Vergi.

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Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum

KK 115

Ivory;gilt silver (fittings and lock)

Height: 70mm
Width: 210mm
Depth: 102mm

Châtelaine de Vergi.
Register 1: Courting couple (meeting of lovers); the Châtelaine secretly meets the knight; dog. Châtelaine discussing with the knight. The knight rejects the advances made by the Duchess of Burgundy; bed. The Duchess tells the Duke of Burgundy that the knight has offended her.
Register 2: the Châtelaine trains her dog to be her messenger; The Châtelaine sends her dog to the knight; knight with a hawk on his wrist. The knight and the Châtelaine meet in her bedroom; the knight chucks the Châtelaine under the chin. The Duke of Burgundy threatens the knight, kneeling; sword. The knight, to exonerate himself, tells the Duke about his liaison with the Châtelaine and brings the duke of Burgundy through the forest.
Body, back
The duke observes the meeting of the two lovers, hidden behind a tree. The knight embraces the Châtelaine, her dog is at her feet. The duke tells the duchess about their idyll; bed. The Châtelaine in her castle receives an invitation to the Carnival ball organised by the Duchess.
End, left
Ladies dancing a carole; the Duchess compliments the Châtelaine on her skill at training dogs; two musicians blowing trumpets.
Body, front
The Châtelaine, seeing that her secret has been betrayed, dies of sorrow; bed; sword; servant. The knight, discovering the dead body of the Châtelaine, commits suicide by piercing his chest with a sword. The Duke, discovering the two corpses, removes the sword from the body of the knight and goes in search of the Duchess.
End, right
The Duke beheads the Duchess at the ball.

Koechlin Number: 1308

Koechlin 1924: France, 1st half of the 14th century.
Vienna 1964: France, 2nd third of the 14th century.
Museum's opinion 2011: Paris, 2nd third of the 14th century.


Carved on all sides.

Collection of Archduke Ferdinand II of Tyrol (b. 1529, d. 1595) at Ambras Castle, near Innsbruck; features in the 1596 Ambraser Nachlassinventar Erzherzog Ferdinands II., fol. 405v (Ed. 'Inventar des Nachlasses von Erzherzog Ferdinand II. in Innsbruck (Ruhelust, Alte Burg) und Ambras vom 30. Mai 1596', in Jahrbuch der kunsthistorischen Sammlungen des Allerhöchsten Kaiserhauses in Wien, vol. VII, 2, Reg. 5556, p. CCXCIV): 'Ain ganz helfenpaines trühl mit silbern schlosz und pand mit schön geschnitner arbait' ; inherited by his son Karl von Burgau; sold in 1605 to Emperor Rudolph II (d. 1612); the collection was brought to Vienna in 1806; together with other imperial collections, it formed the basis of the collection of Sculpture and Decorative Arts of the Kunsthistorisches Museum which opened in 1891.

J. O. Westwood, Fictile Ivories in the South Kensington Museum (London, 1876), Appendix, p. 473-474.
R. Koechlin, Les Ivoires gothiques français (Paris, 1924), I, p. 509; II, no. 1308.
Katalog der Sammlung für Plastik und Kunstgewerbe (Vienna, 1964), I. Mittelalter, no. 10, fig. 26.
Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Führer durch die Sammlungen (Vienna, 1988), p. 133.
Le Stanze di Artù, ed. by E. Castelnuovo, exhibition catalogue, Alessandria, Complesso conventuale di San Francesco, ex Ospedale militare, 1999-2000, p. 185, no. 26.
Heiliges Römisches Reich Deutscher Nation, 962 bis 1806: Von Otto dem Grossen bis zum Ausgang des Mittelalters, ed. by M. Puhle and C.-P. Hasse, exhibition catalogue, Dresden, 2006, pp. 350ff, no. IV.119.
Margarete Gräfin von Tirol: Leben und Schicksal einer Fürstin - Margareta Contessa del Tirolo, ed. by J. Hörmann-Thurn und Taxis, exhibition catalogue, Meran, Landesmuseum Schloss Tirol, 30 June-19 November 2007, p. 55, no. 4.20.
S. Haag, Meisterwerke der Elfenbeinkunst: Kurzführer durch das Kunsthistorische Museum (Vienna, 2007), p. 48, no. 6.
Die Staufer und Italien: Objekte, Essays: Drei Innovationsregionen im mittelalterlichen Europa, ed. by A. Wieczorek, B. Schneidmuller, S. Weinfurter (Mannheim, 2010), II, pp. 216ff, no. V.C.6.


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