The So-called Horn of Saint Blaise

The So-called Horn of Saint Blaise



Overall: 12 cm (4 3/4 in.)

Gift of the John Huntington Art and Polytechnic Trust 1930.740


This oliphant--a carved elephant tusk in the shape of a hunting horn--was likely carved in an Arab ivory workshop in South Italy or Sicily. It is masterfully shaped, with a series of six carved bands, the outer ring depicting scenes from a hunt. The earliest surviving inventory of the church of Saint Blaise from 1482-85 lists an oliphant decorated with silver rings and precious stones and known as the "Horn of Saint Blaise." By the 17th century, Saint Blaise was reputed to have used this very horn to summon the faithful to worship.

See also
MED - Romanesque
Medieval Art
Type of artwork: 

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