Saturday, September 28, 2013

The object of the day: 18th century Italian Blackamoor Busts

Italian Marble Blackamoor Busts, Late 18th century

This exceptional pair of 18th-century blackamoors is crafted of hand-carved marble
21 1/4" high 

A very rare and desirable pair of 18th-century Italian marble blackamoor busts of exceptional quality and condition. These male and female figures are exceptionally hand-carved and rest upon a circular, turned pedestal. Blackamoors, often referred to as Moretto or Moor's head, have been used in heraldry, jewelry, and the decorative arts for centuries. The forms represent the historic emblem of Venice, dating from the medieval period, when Saracen pirates plagued the coast of Dalmatia.

Their use in decorating interiors spread quickly to the royal courts of Europe, where they were considered exotic symbols of wealth, luxury and good fortune. The popularity of blackamoors soon spread to the European aristocracy, who commissioned beautiful figures such as the current examples as a way to bring courtly fashion into their homes. Seldom do original pairs of marble blackamoors come on the market, as most were carved from wood or crafted of ceramics.

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