Skull of Buffalo Horn, Germany, 17th-18th century. Estimate € 10,000.00. Photo Auctionata
Buffalo Horn. Height: 6.5 cm; diameter base: 7.5 cm. Good condition
This is an exceptionally filigree carved skull of buffalo horn. It originates from Germany from the 17th/18th century. The skull of a human head is depicted without lower jaw. It conveys the transience of human being.
‘Teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom’ (Psalm 90:12). Death is an outsider in our today’s society, an unloved marginal figure. We live in the belief of the idea that we could outwit nature and strive for eternal life. Clerical life had almost come to a standstill in the ‘dark Middle Ages’ (9th C.), which inside the church led to strive after asceticism and the cleaning of anything secular and ruinous. The result were also the foundation of many cloisters and was connected to a certain mysticism, which is still felt today in the walls of a cloister. The heaped appearance of the Black Death in the 14th and 15th century led again to an enforcement of the Memento Mori thought. Dances of the death, death sculptures, changing heads and skulls found entrance into the prayers and mediations about life and death. The confrontations with death and the consciousness of the transience of the earthly were supposed to animate a more god-fearing life.