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The Christ Child as Good Shepherd
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The Christ Child as Good Shepherd


Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description This ivory carving was produced in the Portuguese colony of Goa, on India’s western coast, where such sculptures were made for export and for Catholic missionaries in India. Aware of Mughal interest, Jesuits might have brought similar sculptures to the court. Jesus was regarded as a prophet in Islam, and images of Jesus and other prophets were collected by the Mughal courtiers and painted on the walls of Mughal palaces. This popular compositional type of carved ivory statuette depicting the Good Shepherd was apparently invented in Goa (west coast of India), a Portuguese colony and Jesuit training center for missionaries. At the bottom, Christ's follower Mary Magdalene reads scriptures in a mountain cave, where, according to legend, she retired in later life. Above is a fountain of life (suggestive of baptism) with doves and lambs, and at the top is the meditative figure of the Christ Child sitting with a lamb. Christ's eyes are closed. The gesture of his right hand, lightly touching his hair with two fingers, is seen by some scholars as adopting a gesture of the Buddha.
Conservation
Date Description Narrative
1/11/1962Treatmentcleaned
10/08/1982Treatmentcleaned
10/23/1987Treatmentcleaned; examined for condition
11/01/1999Treatmentcleaned
5/07/2005Treatmentcleaned
Exhibitions
  • World of Wonder. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1971-1972.
  • Ivory: The Sumptuous Art. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1983-1984.
  • Pearls on a String: Artists, Patrons, and Poets at the Great Islamic Courts. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore; Asian Art Museum, San Francisco. 2015-2016.
Provenance Don Marcello Massarenti Collection, Rome; purchased by Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1902; by bequest to Walters Art Museum, 1931.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters with the Massarenti Collection, 1902

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Creator
Period
17th century
Medium
ivory
(Ivory & Bone)
Accession Number
71.324
Measurements
H: 6 7/8 × W: 2 11/16 × D: 1 15/16 in. (17.4 × 6.8 × 5 cm)
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