Description & Technical information

Peacocks are a genuine rarity in the range of coral objects produced in the Baroque era, which stretches from liturgical items such as holy-water stoups, capezzali, cribs and crucifixes to secular items such as desk sets and boxes. In fact, the only other pair of peacocks published and known in literature hitherto is a pair that was formerly in the Whitaker Collection (C. Arnaldi di Balme, S. Castronovo 2008, p. 27, fig. 16; A. Daneu 1964, p. 150, nos. 212-213, pl. XIII; M.C. Di Natale 2001, p. 56, fig. 60; C. Maltese 1986, p. 197, n. 43). The peacock in pagan symbology was considered akin to the image of the Arabian Phoenix, a bird credited with the power to rise again from its own ashes, while in the Christian era it began to be associated with the Resurrection of Christ.

Date:  1st half of the 17th century
Period:  17th century, 1600-1750
Medium: Coral, Enamel, Gilded copper, Gilded bronze
Dimensions: 14 cm (5¹/₂ inches)
Provenance: Private collection, Milan
Literature: C. ARNALDI DI BALME, S. CASTRONOVO, ed., Rosso corallo. Arti preziose della Sicilia barocca, exhibition catalogue, Milan 2008
L. CARATTI DI VALFREI, Dizionario di araldica, Milan 1997
A.DANEU, L’arte trapanese del corallo, Banco di Sicilia 1964
M.C. DI NATALE, Splendori di Sicilia. Arti Decorative dal Rinascimento al Barocco, Milan 2001
C. MALTESE, L’arte del corallo in Sicilia, exhibition catalogue, Trapani 1986
G. SANTI-MAZZINI, Arardica. Storia linguaggio, simboli e significati dei blasoni e delle armi, Milan 2003