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Casket (coffret)

Casket (coffret)
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Body, back

Body, front

Secular. Romance. Courtly love.

Repository Institution

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Paris, Musée de Cluny-Musée national du Moyen Âge

Cl. 23840

Ivory;gilt copper (fittings)

Height: 97mm
Width: 257mm
Depth: 167mm

Scene 1: Elopement (variation on Attack on the Castle of Love); winged God of Love crowning kneeling lovers with chaplets; lady throwing flowers from the battlements; knight climbing a tree; knight chucking his lover under the chin; lovers on a horse; bridge; couple and youth in a boat.
Scene 2: Tournament; couples; ladies with dogs and youths observing the jousting knights in armour from a balcony; youth with a hawk on his wrist; embracing couples; two heralds in trees blowing trumpets; horses.
Scene 3: Attack on the Castle of Love; lady making a wreath by a flowery bush; couple embracing; catapult throwing flowers; knights in armour assaulting the castle; ladies throwing flowers from the battlements; knight climbing a ladder.
Body, front
Aristotle teaching Alexander. Aristotle ridden by Phyllis, observed by Alexander. Two young men argue over the inheritance of a recently deceased man; seated king; throne decorated with lions. The king (sometimes identified as king Solomon) orders them to shoot arrows to the shrouded corpse and only the 'false' son complies.
End, right
A knight in armour and on horseback delivers a lady from a wild man. Galahad receiving the keys to the Castle of the Maidens; horse; armour.
Body, back
Gawain in armour fighting the lion. Lancelot crossing the sword bridge, with swords and spears falling from the sky. Gawain on the perilous bed; bed on wheels and with bells; lion; shield with a lion's paw; spears falling from the sky. The three maidens at the Castle of the Maidens.
End, left
Tristan and Iseult conversing; dog on Iseult's lap; king Mark in the tree; fountain reflecting king Mark's face. The barons come to Mark to accuse Iseult of adultery.

Taburet-Delahaye and Dectot 2008: Paris, early 14th century.
Paris 2009: Paris, c. 1300-1310.
Museum's opinion 2010: Paris, 1st quarter of 14th century.


Polychromy - Gilding
No trace of polychromy or gilding, even under magnifying glass.

Carved on all sides.

On the iconography of the front of the casket, see: W. Stechow, 'Shooting at Father’s Corpse: a Note on the Hazards of Iconography', in Art Bulletin 37 (1955), pp. 55-56.

François Baverey collection, Lyon. Purchased by the Museum in 2007.

E. Taburet-Delahaye and X. Dectot, 'Un Exceptionnel coffret d'ivoire gothique', in La Revue des Musées de France-Revue du Louvre 3 (2008), pp. 6-8.
La Légende du roi Arthur, dir. by T. Delcourt, exhibition catalogue, Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, 2009, no. 65.
Imagining the Past in France, exhibition catalogue, Los Angeles, The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010, no. tbc.
P. M. Carns, 'Playing the fool: La Folie Tristan on two French Gothic Ivories', in Sculpture Journal 23.1 (2014), pp. 51-63, fig. 1-4.
P. Williamson and G. Davies, Medieval Ivory Carvings 1200-1550 (London, 2014), in relation to no. 227.


© Réunion des musées nationaux - Michel Urtado.
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