Casket

Maker: Attributed to Michel Redlin (German, documented 1688)

Date: ca. 1680

Culture: Polish, Gdansk (Danzig)

Medium: Amber, gold foil, gilt brass, wood, silk satin, paper

Dimensions: Overall: 11 13/16 × 13 × 8 1/4 in. (30 × 33 × 21 cm); Pedestal: 15 x 24 in. (38.1 x 61 cm)

Classification: Natural Substances

Credit Line: Walter and Leonore Annenberg Acquisitions Endowment Fund, 2006

Accession Number: 2006.452a–c

Description

During the Renaissance and the Baroque eras, amber, a fossilized tree resin known as the "gold of the Baltic Sea," was regarded as a substance of mythical origin with magical powers. This precious casket is a true Kunstkammer object; its architectural design and decoration are related to a drawing by Michel Redlin, documented as an amber carver in Gdansk in 1688. Three types of amber were used: opaque, translucent, and a milky variant. Landscapes and pastoral scenes were engraved into the amber surface from behind.

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