Artist unknown / Box for toilet articles / about 1745Artist unknown
Box for toilet articles
about 1745

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Creator Name: Unknown
Creator Nationality: European; Northern European; German
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Name-CRT: Artist unknown
Title: Box for toilet articles
View: front
Creation Start Date: 1743
Creation End Date: 1747
Creation Date: about 1745
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Box
Materials and Techniques: horn or tortoise shell, gold, glass
Dimensions: H.6-1/4 x W.10-1/8 x D.7-5/8 in.
AMICA Contributor: The Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Owner Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
ID Number: 85.81.1-10
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Theodora Lang and the Minneapolis Foundation: Ankeny Family Fund

The box is decorated with scenes from the life of St. Nicholas of Myra. This fourth century Greek bishop, who was the patron saint of children, sailors and travelers and the guardian of young women, was the forerunner of St. Nicholas or Father Christmas.

The gold scenes were applied in a piqué technique whereby thin sheets of gold are impressed into tortoiseshell which has been softened in boiling water and olive oil. Once the shell cools, it contracts and the gold is securely held in place. This technique was first introduced at the end of the sixteenth century in Naples, and by the following century it had spread to France, England and northern Europe, with Paris and Naples as the principal centers.

The costly and time-consuming nature of this intricate technique imply that it was used on only the most expensive small luxury items such as inkstands, trays, snuffboxes and boxes for toilet articles, in this case gold-mounted perfume bottles.

AMICA ID: MIA_.85.81.1-10
Component Measured: overall
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: ?The Minneapolis Institute of Arts

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