Date: early 17th century

Culture: Southern German, Augsburg

Medium: Pine carcass, gilded metal

Dimensions: H. 25-1/2 x W. 36-3/4 x D. 15-1/8 in. (64.8 x 93.3 x 38.4 cm)

Classification: Woodwork-Furniture

Credit Line: Gift of William H. Riggs, 1913

Accession Number: 25.135.112


This meticulously crafted wooden jewel pendant was probably intended as a display piece for a Kunstkammer, or collector's cabinet (see 25.135.112), demonstrating the technical skill of its maker (see 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. 1466–1536), 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).