Ivory

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  • Created by: Ruthfeath
  • Created on: 29-05-18 14:31
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  • Ivory
    • Techniques
      • An adz, axe or chisel was used to ***** the outer rind from the tusk
      • A saw was used to cut the tusk into sections
      • An implement known as a float was used to pare the surface
      • Fretsaws, gauges and hand chisels were used to actually carve the piece
      • Egyptian traditions of ivory carving in relief & ivory inlays or overlays were developed by Mycenaean sculptors
      • Ivory was carved in palace workshops, which is known because ivory chippings and full tusks of ivory have been found in the ruins of these workshops
    • Key Examples
      • Ivory Triad
      • Ivory Sphinxes Box
      • Ivory Mirror Handle
      • Ivory Lion
      • Ivory Head, Mycenae
      • Ivory Warrior Head
      • Royal Gaming Board
    • Evidence from Linear B
      • Inventory list on Linear B tablet
        • Ebony chair with ivory back, which was carved with heifers & other decoration
        • Footstool inlaid with a man, a horse, an octopus & a griffin in ivory
        • Chariot decorated with ivory
      • Tablets also reference ivory workers as a specialised role
      • There have been swords found, as referenced in Linear B, with lapis lazuli & ivory inlaid on the hilt
    • Purpose of materials & goods
      • For the most part ivory was used for decorative purposes, as seen through the sphinxes box & the ivory backed ebony chair
      • Because ivory was precious it was also used for religious items - ivory triad
      • Ivory was often used to depict animals, mythical & real
      • Ivory has also been inlaid on the hilt of a sword
    • Decoration
      • Another extraordinary object from Knossos was the Royal Gaming Board
        • The original object, excavated north of the Loom-weight Basement, was an exceptionally elaborate construction made with inlays of ivory, rock crystal and glass paste, decorated with kyanos blue and gold & silver sheet metal, on a wooden base
      • Four ivory gaming pieces were found nearby
      • The oldest ivory artefacts are the inlays carved in the form of dogs on the imported box of Egyptian sycamore from Shaft Grave V
    • Origins, trade & production
      • The raw material consisted of the tusks of Syrian elephants and hippos
      • It was imported raw from Syria, where the elephant survived until the 9thC
      • It is possible that some of the ivory came from Nubia & Somaliland by way of Egypt
      • Mycenaean carved ivories were exported to the East Mediteranean
    • Problems
      • Not reflective of the poorer classes - only the elite could afford such a luxury
      • The evidence for ivory is scarce & fragmentary because ivory is subject to decay when buried in damp earth for any length of time
      • Ivory can be mistaken for boar tusk or vice versa
      • Whilst we know the ivory comes from elephants & hippos, we don't know where these animals were from

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