Mammoth ivory, Elephant Ivory – real or fake?
Ivory carving in antiquity
Due to certain characteristics of ivory; fine grain, creamy light colour, smooth texture, and soft lustre, it has always been a material highly appreciated. This can be seen throughout history as ancient Ivory carvings and Ivory statues can be found in various cultures all the way through the centuries. Carved ivory can be found in ancient Egypt, Greece, China, Japan, and India. Ivory carvings have been discovered from prehistoric times through the Roman, Carolingian, Archaic, Byzantine, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque periods up until modern times.
The tools available to each time period are what define how ivory carving was done thus allowing for creations to be separated into time frames and historic periods. Ivory carvings alongside bone and horn are numerous from certain periods of the Stone Age. These mainly include prehistoric engravings on ivory representing animals or scenes.
Moving on carved elephant tusks and hippopotamus teeth were prominent in ancient Egypt. These items are not only ivory statues but also items of everyday use including combs, hairpins and jewellery possibly used as amulets. Later on ivory is used for decorations on handles, spoons, and furniture.
The ancient Phoenicians also used ivory from Syria and Africa, mainly creating inlays for woodwork. The Greeks are also known for creations using ivory to create ivory gaming boxes, mirror handles, and carved plaques found in Cyprus, Sparta and Mycenae.
Chinese and Japanese ivory carvings were also common including items such as Netsuke and ivory boxes and ivory statues. Ivory carving happens to be one of China’s oldest arts, and examples of dexterously carved ivory have been found in the tombs dating back to the Shang dynasty.
Modern Ivory carving
In the 19th century, ivory was used to make caskets, clock cases, and batons, as well as humbler objects such as snuff boxes, fan handles, and scent bottles. Ivory items began being mass produced and mainly to indulge the tourists to lands known for their ivory creations.
Mammoth ivory carving replaced elephant tusk due to laws and regulations enforced to protect the dwindling population of elephants. Not lacking in quality or appeal mammoth ivory statues and ivory carvings can be purchased. It is, however, necessary to ensure that the item purchased is genuine mammoth ivory. At www.ivoryandart.com you can find a large variety of 100% genuine mammoth ivory statues and carvings.
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