Medieval ivory at the Courtauld

The Courtauld Gallery currently has a small but perfectly formed exhibition of medieval ivories.

I do love me some medieval art. And I can really see why someone would collect ivories: they are small but full of character, and I imagine they are beautifully tactile although obviously I didn’t get my hands on the ones in the exhibition.

medieval ivory head

It’s curious to think, as well, of the trade that must have been involved to get the ivory from Africa to Paris, which was the centre of ivory carving.

I wasn’t taking any notes in the exhibition so I can’t tell you anything about this little head. I remember it was only a few centimetres tall; I think it may be a memento mori bead: the other side carved in the form of worm-eaten skull.