Flemish or German (Cologne?)
Boxwood and various woods for marquetry, partly stained; 1 3/16 in. (3 cm)
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917 (17.190.310)
This meticulously crafted wooden jewel pendant was probably intended as a display piece for a Kunstkammer, or collector's cabinet (Collector's Cabinet, 25.135.112), demonstrating the technical skill of its maker (Bowl, 17.190.643). The 1586 inventory of the famous "Amerbach cabinet," a bourgeois Kunstkammer in Basel that evolved from the collection of the humanist Erasmus of Rotterdam (ca. 14661536), mentions no less than 770 different goldsmith's models in various media. This example depicts scenes from the life of a mythological hero: Hercules, with Antaeus (in bas-relief), and on the reverse, Hercules bearing the two pillars of Gibralter (in marquetry).