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.

On View

European Decorative Art, Gallery 234


Adam Eck








Ebony, ivory, various woods, brass, and iron


Stamped with the mark of the city of Augsburg and also bears the stamp EBON. Augsburg, 1640; by Phillipp Heinhoffer with carvings by Adam Eck


160 × 110.5 × 64.8 cm (63 × 43 1/2 × 25 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Anonymous Purchase Fund

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .


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