(master 1561, died 1617, Augsburg)

Ostrich Egg Standing Cup

Ostrich egg, coral, silver, parcel gilt, partially paianted, height 57 cm
Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

This ornate object presents itself as an extremely exaggerated showpiece in which the extravagance of the materials used is balanced by the creativity of its concept and the craftsmanship of the goldsmith. It is a typical object of the Kunst- und Wunderkammer (Art and Curiosities Chamber) because of the combination of natural material and noble gold work. Over the fragmented base is a moor leading a leashed ostrich carrying its own egg. Furthermore it carries a horseshoe in its beak, already in the 16th century considered a symbol for good luck.

Germany has traditionally been known as a leader in silver- and goldsmithry. In the 16-17th centuries masters from the two most prolific centres, Augsburg and Nuremberg, with their numerous Italian artisans, produced silverware of remarkable quality and elegance, especially drinking vessels in the impressive variety. This object was created in Augsburg by the goldsmith Clement Kicklinger.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.