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Writing tablets, 1 register, 3 arches across, reused in a casket (coffret; frise d'arcatures; plaquettes; tablettes à écrire) (Front)

Writing tablets, 1 register, 3 arches across, reused in a casket (coffret; frise d'arcatures; plaquettes; tablettes à écrire) (Front)
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Secular. Games.

Repository Institution

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Ravenna, Museo Nazionale di Ravenna

Inv. n. 1032

Ivory;tinted ivory, bone, wood and tortoise shell (rest of casket, with intarsia 'alla certosina')

Height: 93mm; 125mm (casket)
Width: 62-63mm (each); 200mm (casket)
Depth: 135mm (casket)

Scene 1: game of hot cockles (jeu de haute coquille; variation on the jeu de la main chaude); courting couples (meeting of lovers); couple embracing.Added panel: youth climbing a tree.
Scene 2: game of frog in the middle (jeu de la grenouille); youth chucking his lover under the chin.
Pointed trefoils in the spandrels. Border of dentils.

Koechlin Number: 1171-1172

Westywood 1876: France, 14th century.
Koechlin 1924 and Vitali 1976: France, 1st half of the 14th century (tablets only).
Randall 1997: 14th century, incorporated into a casket in the second half of the 15th century.
Gaborit-Chopin 2003: Paris, c. 1330-1340.
Martini and Rizzardi 1990: Paris, 2nd quarter of the 14th century; rest of the casket: Northern Italy, 2nd half of the 15th century.
Martini 2004: Paris, 1340-1350; rest of the casket: Northern Italy, mid 15th century.


One of the panels, as was revealed during restoration work, has a circular recess on the reverse.

Object Condition
Numerous vertical breaks.

The two writing tablets have been inserted later in a wedding casket (it has on its lid two blank shields which were never painted but should have borne the arms of both spouses.

Classense collection, i.e. collection assembled by the Camaldolese monks of Sant'Apollinare in Classe near Ravenna, acquired mainly during the 18th century; with the suppression of religious orders in 1797, the possessions of Ravenna's important abbeys passed on to the Comune of Ravenna; in 1804, the Museo Classense Municipale was established, which would become in 1885 the Museo Nazionale di Ravenna.

J. O. Westwood, Fictile Ivories in the South Kensington Museum (London, 1876), Appendix, p. 360, no. 11.
R. Koechlin, Les Ivoires gothiques français (Paris, 1924), I, pp. 438-439; II, no. 1171-1172.
R. H. Randall, 'Frog in the Middle', in The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin (June 1958), pp. 269-275.
L. Vitali, Avori gotici francesi (Milan, 1976), no. 15-16.
Les Fastes du Gothique: le siècle de Charles V, ed. by F. Baron, exhibition catalogue, Paris, Grand Palais, 1981, p. 196.
Avori bizantini e medievali nel museo nazionale di Ravenna, ed. by L. Martini and C. Rizzardi (Ravenna, 1990), no. 23, pl. XVII.
Oggetti in avorio e osso nel Museo Nazionale di Ravenna, sec. XV-XIX (Ravenna, 1993), no. 135, fig. 8.
R. H. Randall Jr., 'Games on a Medieval Ivory', in Record of the Art Museum, Princeton University, 56 (1997), pp. 3-9 (pp. 6-7).
D. Gaborit-Chopin, Ivoires médiévaux, Ve-XVe siècle (Paris: Musée du Louvre, 2003), p. 424, fig. 177a.
La collezione degli oggetti in avorio e osso. Museo Nazionale di Ravenna, ed. by L. Martini (Ravenna, 2004), pp. 33, 34, 57 no. 23.


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