Orpheus enchanting the animals
A Dutch micro-carving, sculpted in relief, representing Orpheus enchanting the animals, in a contemporary embossed wood and gilt…
A turned goblet of rhinoceros horn with two silver mounts. The inscription on the upper band states: Eenen onwerderelijken witte Rinoceros Horene Beker (An unworldly white Rhinoceros Horn Cup).
Dutch goblets made of horn of a rhinoceros are extremely rare. Inventories and catalogues of sixteenth and seventeenth-century collections only seldomly mention them.The famous Amsterdam collector of drawings, Lambert ten Kate (1674-1731) also kept a collection of exotic natural objects. The sale catalogue of the auction held a year after his death features lots described as ‘Een rhinoceros Hoorn gepolyst, en tot een Drinkschael gefatsoeneert’ (a rhinoceros horn, polished and crafted into a bowl). From the collection of Jonas Witsen, burgomaster of Amsterdam, two horn goblets were offered for sale at the 1790 auction: lot 38, ‘Een gedraaide beker van de hoorn van een Rinoceros’ (A turned goblet of the horn of a Rhinoceros) and lot 39, ‘Een dito kleinder’ (Ditto, smaller in size).
This goblet is mentioned in the catalogue of auction house A.G. de Visser in the sale catalogue for 5 December 1859, in The Hague, under Lot 31. The description leaves no room for doubt regarding the question whether it concerns this particular goblet:
‘Eenen onwerderelijken witte Rinoceros Horene Beker’
Anonymous Sale, The Hague, A.G. de Visser, 5-12-1859, lot 31
Dutch, circa 1680
height 16.2 cm