Southern Italy

Oliphant

Early 11th century

    Oliphant carved out of an elephant tusk. Only the two ends of the piece carry ornamentation, in the form of bands of stylized plant motifs. The upper section has an frieze of animals passant towards the sinister side. While the style of the work is definitely Islamic, it was not made in the East, but was probably done by Saracen craftsmen working in Sicily, in contact with Byzantine craftsmen. These elements also point towards a fairly early dating (early 11th c.).

Dimensions of the object
L. 56 cm ; d. max.14 cm

Bibliography
-
I Normanni, popolo d'Europa, Roma, Venezia, 1994, a cura di Mario d'Onofio, n 216.

Location
Berlin, Deutsches Historisches Museum

Photography
Berlin, Deutsches Historisches Museum