Chinese ivory biblical scene plaque

The Garden of Gethsemane, Formosa or Macau

16th-17th century

A rare Chinese ivory biblical scene plaque, Formosa (Taïwan) or Macau. Typical Iberic style biblical scene but with characteristic Chinese elements like the clouds, clothes, rockwork, hair, and eyes, as well as a typical Asian arm.
The great depth of the ivory plaque allows a depiction of both sides of the face of Christ and the angel.

Dimensions : 16.2 cm height

Era : 16th-17th century

References : Ivories in the Portuguese Empire, by Bailey, Massing, Vassalo e Silva.

Fig.9 Plaque "Profane Love, Divine Love". Ceylon, 1st half of 17th century. Ivory. 22.8 x 17.7 cm. Museo de Viana do Castelo

Fig.10 Print by Hieronymus Wierix, Divine Love, c. 1610

The exemplar belonging to a private collection is noteworthy due to the significant thickness of ivory, making the modeling of figures and the careful execution of all details easier, reproducing faithfully the print, in three dimensions. The major change is the upper legend translated into Portuguese, in ivory exemplars.

Plate 19: Plaque with Martyrdom of Saint Catherine of Alexandria / Macau, China, 16/17th century / Ivory / 14x9 cm / Osvaldo Gil Matias Collection.

Chinese ivory biblical scene plaque Garden of Gethsemane Formosa or Macau