Site display: Normal | Text Only

My Collection | About Us | Teachers

Find objects

Select from more than one or two options below:

Objects search

Can't find what you're looking for? Try the search below.

Oval ivory spectacle case, Europe, 1490-1550

  • Thumbnail1
  • Thumbnail2
  • Click the thumbnails to enlarge

The Biblical story of the Judgement of Solomon is depicted on one side of this unusual ivory spectacle case. King Solomon was asked to judge which woman was the mother of the baby he was presented with. Solomon declared he would cut the child in two and give a half to each of the women. One woman declared she would rather give up her child than see her child hurt. Solomon decided this woman was the child’s mother due to her show of maternal love. The other side depicts the ‘Death of the Doctor.’ A doctor is confronted by Death in the form of a skeleton. Images of Death with different people including the clergy, beautiful women, pedlars and beggars were often part of paintings and poems. These were known as the ‘Dance of Death.’ They reminded people death comes to all regardless of wealth, looks or position in society. The case may also be a memento mori. This literally means a reminder of death.

Object number:


Related Themes and Topics

Related Objects

There are 1076 related objects. View all related objects



Glossary: ophthalmology

The branch of medicine dealing with the diseases and surgery of the visual pathways (usually the eyes or the brain).

Glossary: Technology and medicine

No description.

Glossary: memento mori

Symbols intended to remind the viewer of death. Memento mori are often objects such as skulls or hourglasses, but can also be written inscriptions.

Glossary: spectacle case

case for spectacles