This is very ornate example of a 16th century carved ivory horn. The mouthpiece at the tip of the horn is depicted emerging from the fanged jaws of an animal head, following through to the body of the horn, which is covered in low relief carving. This section includes fantastical European creatures, and African animals such as crocodiles and serpents. The base of the horn is carved with the Coat of Arms of the Portuguese royal house, and the cross of Beja, the end is fitted with silver-gilt rim. The British Museum records refer to this as Afro-Portuguese, a term used to indicate items from Sierra Leone and Nigeria, made for a Portuguese market in the 15th and 16th centuries. Such items display a mixture of African and European elements and motifs in their overall form and ornamentation, and were considered prestige items across Europe. A more specific term for items patronised in Sierra Leone, is Sapi-Portuguese.

Further Information

  • Type: Ivories
  • Object: Ivory
  • Materials: Bone, ivory, tooth, Metal
  • Culture Group: Other
  • Dimensions: 482mm [L]
  • Production Date: 1490-1530
  • Associated Places: Unknown
  • Associated People: Hans Salone
  • Museum: British Museum
  • Accession Number: BM:Af.1979.1.3156

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