- Material: Ivory, silver pin.
- Size: just over 2 2/8" by 1 7/8"
- Date and Origin: Circa 1840/1850 Italy.
- Conditions: A tiniest chip on one of top head leaves, not noticeable by naked, mentioned for accuracy, otherwise Mint.
More than Museum Quality and huge cameo depicting a a Nymph of the Oak Tree (called Hamadryades). This is real an very rare finding, as she does not have flowers or bunch of grapes in her hair as the most popular Victorian subjects as Floras and Bacchantes, she has acorns and oak leaves in her hair, just the symbol of one of the eight Hamadryades. She probably is Balanis, the nymph of the Oak tree. Look how the carver used the ivory to evidence her face, the leaves and the acorns . This subject really jumps out from the base, this cameo is just like a sculpture. This is one of most beautiful ivory cameo I have ever seen, the pictures speak by themselves. This is another masterly carved cameo. A very desirable collectors piece, rare and museum quality cameo.
A bit of History:
The Hamadryades were eight Dryad nymph daughters of the forest spirit Oxylos ("Of the Forest") and Hamadryas ("With the Tree"), who inhabited Mount Oita in Phthiotis. Each of the eight nymphs presided over a particularly type of tree:
Aigeiros was the nymph of the black poplar (Populus nigra
Ampelos the nymph of the vine, including the wild grape (Vitis silvestris
), bryony (Bryonia creticus
), black bryony (Tamus communis
) and the wrack (Fucus volubilis
Balanis the nymph of acorn-bearing trees such as the holm (Quercus ilex
) and prickly-cupped (Quercus aegilops
Karya the nymph of the nut tree, both the hazel (Corylus avellana
) and walnut (Juglans regia
), and possibly also the sweet chestnut (Castanea vesca
Kraneia the nymph of the cornelian cherry tree (Cornus mas
Morea the nymph of the mulberry tree (Morus nigra
) or else the wild olive;
Ptelea the nymph of the European elm (Ulmus glabra
and Syke the nymph of the fig tree (Ficus carica
).The parents of the Hamadryades, Oxylos and Hamadryas, may also have presided over specific trees, for oxua
in Greek sometimes refers to the beech tree (Fagus silvatica
), and drus
the holm oak (Quercus ilex