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Knife handle (manche de couteau) (Back)

Knife handle (manche de couteau) (Back)
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Secular. Courtly love.

Saint Petersburg, The State Hermitage Museum

Inv. F 228

Boiled leather (case);silver and other metal (blade);ivory;enamel

Height: 80 mm (handle only)
Width: 36 mm (handle)
Depth: 19 mm

Courting couple (meeting of lovers); lady crowning her lover with a chaplet; lady holding a squirrel; lady with plaited hair; youth with a hawk on his wrist; youth chucking his lover under the chin; tree.
Enamelled scenes (6 arches across on the front and back, 1 arch across on the sides):
Front: youth kneeling before two seated ladies; ladies with plaited hair; lady throwing an arrow; trees.
Right: seated lady admiring herself in a mirror; lady with plaited hair; man (or monkey?) in a tree, observing the scene.
Back: seated female musician (string instrument); seated male singer and female singer.
Left: seated lady feeding a squirrel; tree.
Pattern of flowers (rosettes) on the background.

Koechlin Number: 1132

Koechlin 1924: France, mid 14th century.
Bencard 1975: mid 14th century.
Kryzhanovskaya 2013: France (Avignon?) or Italy, 2nd quarter of the 14th century.


Polychromy - Gilding
Remaining enamelled areas:
Front: red (spandrels and angled borders), blue (background).
Right: red (spandrels and angled borders), blue (background).
Back: green (trees, kneeling lover's sleeves and collar), brown (?) (kneeling lover's sleeves), yellow (rosettes on the blue background; lady's hair and youth's hair; sleeve of the left-hand-side lady), red (spandrels), blue (background).
Left: red (spandrels and angled borders), blue (background).

Carved in the round.

Object Condition
Missing: upper part of the tree between the two lovers (only the trunk remains); head of the squirrel.
Vertical crack, particularly visible from the back.
Enamel damaged and missing a lot of the enamelled inlays.

Kept in a boiled leather case.
Maker's mark on the blade in the shape of a feather.

Collection of Alexander Petrovich Basilewski (b. 1829, d. 1899), acquired in 1874; transferred to the Museum in 1885.

A. Darcel, A. P. Basilewski, Collection Basilewski. Catalogue raisonné (Paris, 1874), no. 247.
A. Darcel, 'Le Moyen Âge et la Renaissance au Trocadéro', in Gazette des Beaux-Arts (1878), II, p. 662.
N. Kondakov, Imperatorskii Ermitazh. Ukazatel' otdeleniia srednikh vekov i epokhi vozrozhdeniia [Guide to the Department of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance of the Imperial Hermitage] (Saint Petersburg, 1891), p. 161.
R. Koechlin, Les Ivoires gothiques français (Paris, 1924), I, pp. 418, 420, 421; II, no. 1132.
E. A. Lapkovskaia, Gosudarstvennyi Ermitazh. Prikladnoe iskusstvo Zapadnoi Evropy V-XV vv. (State Hermitage Museum. Applied Arts of Western Europe from the 5th to the 15th century) (Leningrad [Saint Petersburg], 1956), p. 25.
M. Bencard, ‘Om et middelalderligt knivskaft fra Ribe’, in Fra Ribe Amt (1975), pp. 36-61, no. 24.
M. Kryzhanovskaya, 'Kostianoi larets XIV veka i rodstvennye emu pamiatniki v sobranii Gosudarstvennogo Ermitazha', in Kul'tura i iskusstvo zapadnoevropeiskogo srednevekov'ia: materialy nauchnoi konferentsii (Moscow, 1981), p. 288.
Zapadnoevropeiskoe prikladnoe iskusstvo srednikh vekov i epokhi Vozrozhdeniia iz kollektsii A. P. Bazilevskogo, exhibition catalogue, Leningrad [Saint Petersburg], The State Hermitage Museum, 1986, no. 20.
M. Kryzhanovskaya, V mire zamkov i soborov. Prikladnoe iskusstvo zapadnogo Srednevekov'ia (Saint Petersburg, 2007), pp. 114-115.
M. Kryzhanovskaya, Western European Medieval Ivories. Catalogue of the Collection (Зaпaднoeврoпeйскaя рeзнaя кoстъ Срeдних вeкoв. Кataлoг кoллeкции), (Saint Peterburg, 2014), no. 111.


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