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Nautilus-Shell Cup

A work made of nautilus-shell cup and silver gilt.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of nautilus-shell cup and silver gilt.


c. 1600/1700 (19th century mounts)


German, Augsburg

About this artwork

During the Age of Discovery, European artists were inspired by the exotic materials suddenly available to them. Goldsmiths seized on the opportunity to include wondrous and seemingly magical materials—including coconuts (see the Coconut Cup), ivory, ostrich eggs, and, in this case, a nautilus shell from the Indian Ocean—into works of art that celebrated both nature and artifice. These types of object were also popular with collectors during the 19th century, when the mounts on this cup were reworked.


Currently Off View


Applied Arts of Europe


Nautilus-Shell Cup


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.



Nautilus-shell cup and silver gilt


26.1 × 16.1 × 10.2 cm (10 1/4 × 6 5/16 × 4 in.)

Credit Line

Kate S. Buckingham Endowment

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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