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Today Open today 11–8


Large ebony cabinet with white designs, ivory figures, clock.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • Large ebony cabinet with white designs, ivory figures, clock.


About 1640


Augsburg, Germany

About this artwork

Cabinets made in the southern German town of Augsburg during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries are famous for their ornate decoration, which was typically executed in ebony veneer and ivory inlay. This exceptional example also includes delicately carved figures, bronze mounts, and narrative panels made from ivory and stained wood relief. The exquisite craftsmanship of this decoration is matched in inventiveness by the cabinet’s interior structure, which is part display case, part tool chest, and part safe-deposit box. Hidden compartments to the right of a built-in clock (a 1715 replacement of an earlier timepiece) contain a set of five medicine canisters and at least twenty-two other utensils, including hammers, scissors, and a mortar and pestle. These and the other compartments in the cabinet would often have housed jewelry, gems, and important papers, among other precious items. Thematically, the cabinet’s decoration ranges from pure ornament to hunting themes (especially related to the sport of falconry, which may have been a favorite pastime of the cabinet’s owner) and from mythological tales to the allegorical figure of the Christian virtue Charity, who crowns the object.


Currently Off View


Applied Arts of Europe


Adam Eck (Cabinetmaker)




Augsburg (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Ebony, ivory, various woods, brass, and iron


Doors Open: 155 × 179.8 × 60.4 cm (61 × 70 3/4 × 23 3/4 in.)

Credit Line

Anonymous Purchase Fund

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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