Pair of exotic ostrich eggs with red coral sprigs mounted on silver display stands
Pair of ostrich eggs with red coral sprigs mounted on silver display stands
An exquisite pair of elegantly textured, exotic natural ostrich eggs surmounted by rich, Mediterranean coral finials, altogether set atop sterling silver display stands.
Probably mid-20th century; Italy
Approximate height: 32 cm each
This unique pair of decorated ostrich eggs were an eccentric en vogue aspect of the mid-century modern movement. Boutique designers like Stiffel, Anthony Redmile and others appropriated ostrich eggs for use on lamps, candlesticks, urns or as independent decorative works like the present pair. Their inspiration came from exotic Renaissance German (Augsburg and Nuremberg) Kunstkammer or Wonder Cabinet objects that transformed ostrich eggs into ornate flasks, urns and decorative works during the 16th century. For example, the Dresden Kunstmkammer inventory of 1595 records six such elaborate objects incorporating ostrich eggs with precious goldsmithery.
In ancient times engraved ostrich eggs were prized treasures. Preserved examples in ancient burial tombs dating to the 6th century BC are known and these objects were considered a traded luxury commodity as early as the Bronze and Iron Age.