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Turban shell cup

Silver, parcel-gilt, and polished turban-shell

Origin: Germany, Augsburg

Date: c. 1610-1610

22.3 cm height; 561 g weight

Marks/Maker: Augsburg, maker's mark of Melchoir Bair

Provenance: Frederic Spitzer; Baron Alphonse de Rothschild, Paris; Alfred de Rothschild, Halton; Lionel de Rothschild, Exbury House, Southampton, sale, Christie's, 4 July 1946, lot 26, to Webster

Bequeathed by J. Francis Mallett, 1947; WA1947.191.164

T. Schroder (2009), no. 439

Exotic shells with elaborate mounts were a key element if the sixteenth-and seventeenth-century princely Schatzkammer (treasury). The turban shell is from the Indo-Pacific area and, although already known in Europe, it was not until the establishment of firmer trading links with the Far East in the sixteenth century that the shell became more readily available.

Information derived from T. Schroder, British and Continental Gold and Silver in the Ashmolean (2009)

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