Natural History: a Rhino horn together with an ivory and Rhino horn lamp c.1940's i) a Rhino horn with smooth patination height 28.5 cm, weight: 986gms ii) a Rhino horn and ivory lamp with turned wooden base, height 57.5 cm Provenance: Africa Tanzania, circa 1940's, inherited through the family to current owner
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- Ivory - Ivory is a hard white material that comes from the tusks of elephants, mammoth, walrus and boar, or from the teeth of hippopotamus and whales. The ivory from the African elephant is the most prized source of ivory. Although the mammoth is extinct, tusks are still being unearthed in Russia and offered for sale.
Ivory has been used since the earliest times as a material for sculpture of small items, both in Europe and the east, principally China and Japan.
In Asia ivory has been carved for netsuke, seals, okimono, card cases, fan supports, animals and other figures and even as carved tusks.
In the last 200 years in Europe ivory has been used to carve figures, for elaborate tankards, snuff boxes, cane handles, embroidery and sewing accessories, in jewellery and as inlay on furniture. Its more practical uses include being used for billiard balls, buttons, and a veneers on the top of piano keys.
The use and trade of elephant ivory have become controversial because they have contributed to Due to the decline in elephant populations because of the trade in ivory, the Asian elephant was placed on Appendix One of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), in 1975, and in January 1990, the African elephant was similarly listed. Under Appendix One, international trade in Asian or African elephant ivory between member countries is forbidden. Unlike trade in elephant tusks, trade in mammoth tusks is legal.
Since the invention of plastics, there have been many attempts to create an artificial ivory
- Circa - A Latin term meaning 'about', often used in the antique trade to give an approximate date for the piece, usually considered to be five years on either side of the circa year. Thus, circa 1900 means the piece was made about 1900, probably between 1895 and 1905. The expression is sometimes abbreviated to c.1900.
- Patination / Patina - In broad terms, patination refers to the exterior surface appearance of the timber, the effect of fading caused by exposure to sunlight and air over the course of a century or more, changing the piece to a soft, mellow colour.
As patina is very difficult to replicate, it is one of the most important guides to determining the age of furniture.
Patina is also the term applied to the bloom or film found on old bronzes due to oxidisation.
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