ArtLex Art Dictionary

 

 

iivory - Tusks or teeth of mammals, especially those from elephants, walrus, hippopotamus, and whale; or the smooth, hard, yellowish-white material of which they consist; or a thing made of ivory.

May also refer to the color of ivory, a pale grayish yellow to yellowish white. Because so many tusk producing animals are endangered species, it is unethical to purchase, use, or sell contemporary ivory. There are synthetic materials which appear nearly identical to ivory.

 

Examples of works in ivory (in the first sense above):

 

 

see thumbnail to leftCentral Anatolia, Furniture support: female sphinx with Hathor-style curls, 18th century BCE, Old Assyrian period Acemhöyük (probably), ivory, gold foil, height 5 inches (12.7 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

 

 

see thumbnail to rightEgypt, Prancing Horse, c. 1391-1353 BCE, late Dynasty 18, probably reign of Amenhotep IV, New Kingdom, stained ivory, garnet inlay, length 6 inches (15 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. See Egyptian art.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to leftMesopotamia, Nimrud, Head of a Woman, late 8th century BCE, ivory plaque, originally part of furniture. This is one of many Mesopotamian objects that have recently been lost or stolen from Iraq's museums, and have yet to be recovered. The Oriental Institute of the U of Chicago has posted a database of treasures that have been lost or stolen from Iraq.

 

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightParthia, Rhyton, 2nd-1st centuries BCE, ivory, Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia. See rhyton.

 

 

see thumbnail to leftIndia, Orissa, Seated Ganesha, 14th-15th century, ivory, height 7 1/4 inches (18.4 cm), width 4 3/4 inches (12.1 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. See Ganesha and Hindu art.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightNigeria, Edo peoples, Court of Benin, Pendant Mask: Iyoba, 16th century, ivory, iron, copper, height 9 3/8 inches (23.8 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. See African art, mask, and pendant.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to leftHenry Benbridge (American, 1743-1812), Portrait of a Gentleman, c. 1770, miniature watercolor on ivory, 1 1/4 x 1 7/8 inches (3.2 cm. x 4.8 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

 

 

 

see thumbnail to rightTonga, Ha'apai Archipelago, Tongan people, Female Figure, early 19th century, whale ivory, height 5 1/4 inches (13.3 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.

 

 

 

 

see thumbnail to leftShokyusai Tomoyuki (Japanese), Netsuke Showing the Shaving of a Demon in the Guise of a Monk, second half of the 19th century, ivory, 4.6 x 2.9 cm, Edo School, Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia. See netsuke.


 

 

May also refer to the color of ivory, a pale grayish yellow to yellowish white. Because so many tusk producing animals are endangered species, it is inappropriate to purchase, use, or sell contemporary ivory. There are synthetic materials which appear nearly identical to ivory.

 

Also see Ada school, blanc de Chine, encaustic, and statue.

 

 

 

 

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