French, 14th century
Casket, c. 1350
ivory, wood, bronze
8.6 x 25.5 x 13.9 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Gift of Lord and Lady Gort
This ivory casket, which is part of the Gort Collection, dates to the mid-fourteenth century and was likely produced in a provincial centre outside of Paris. The casket’s four side panels and lid are all carved in relief and are held together by bronze fittings, which are later additions replacing the original fittings now lost. Depicted on the five panels of the casket are a number of narrative scenes that are typical of a small group of late medieval French caskets identified as “composite” caskets with which the WAG work has been associated. The courtly and romantic scenes presented include episodes related to Aristotle and Virgil (front panel), the fountain of youth (end panel), and jousting and arming scenes (lid). This casket would have been used to hold toiletry items or jewelry and thus was probably made for a female patron.