Description A finely carved figure of a seated boy holding a bunch of grapes, modeled in the round. He looks over his shoulder as if afraid someone might steal his fruit. His eyes were once inlaid with bits of glass. A number of bone or ivory knife handles of similar pattern exist showing boys holding birds. The circular base, chipped on one side, has a round hole underneath, and the figure is partially hollowed to receive a tang. A 4th-century date has been proposed based on comparisons with the hairstyles of 4th-century sculpture. But the ivory is said to have been found at ancient Hermopolis in Egypt with a collection of 2nd-century Roman silver now in the Antikenabteilung, Staaliche Museen, Berlin, and might therefore be earlier. The pose and subject are derived from Hellenistic sculpture.
- Early Christian and Byzantine Art. Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore. 1947.
- Ivory: The Sumptuous Art. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1983-1984.
Provenance Paris market, ca. 1900; Michel Boy Collection, Paris [date and mode of acquisition unknown]; Michel Boy Sale, Paris, May 24, 1905, no. 578; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1905, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1905
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