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Italian Bronze Andirons

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Italian Bronze Andirons

- Item No.

This monumental pair of 19th century Italian bronze andirons has imagery with mystical significance

Key Features

  • This monumental pair of 19th century Italian bronze andirons has imagery with mystical significance
  • The lions, cherubim, rams and eagle represented together have important cosmological meaning
  • The sphinx was an important symbol traditionally placed as a guard of sacred places
  • An andiron such as this would have been a symbol of one's aesthetic and mystical sensibility

Item Details

  • Height:
    45" Inches
  • Period:
  • Origin:
This monumental pair of Italian bronze andirons is among the most intriguing and heavily decorated we have ever seen. Standing 45 inches tall, the andirons exhibit sculptural work of tremendous detail and symbolism. The figures represented include lions, cherubim, a pair of sphinxes, rams, and an eagle with a serpentine form in its claws. These figures, presented together, have very complex astrological and esoteric significance.

It is fitting that the figure of the sphinx would be included as part of the iconography of these andirons as the sphinx was traditionally placed at the entrance to palaces or temples of antiquity. Their positioning implied power, authority, and protection. The combination of all four creatures mentioned above in one creature is described in the chapter of Ezekiel and elsewhere in the Bible as a type of angel. This concept of these magical creatures and of their combination is also seen in the mysticism of the Sumerians and the Egyptians and was incorporated into Masonic iconography and related iconography of much of 19th century occultism. All of this magical symbolism makes these andirons perfectly suited to guard a fire - fires being traditionally considered as an element of purification and a gateway to the spiritual world.

As a functional household item for one's fireplace andirons were an absolute necessity, allowing proper burning and circulation of air.  Before the Italian Renaissance andirons were made almost entirely out of iron and were comparatively plain in design, but during the Renaissance Italian artists lavished their exquisite skill and artistry on metalwork objects and andirons were given a new face.  Adorned with grotesque animals, sphinxes, mythological statuettes, caryatids and national symbols, andirons indicated the tastes of their owners. An andiron such as this would have been a symbol of one's aesthetic sensibility as well as an indication that possibly one dabbled or had an interest in matters of an esoteric nature. This pair would have made a fascinating conversation piece in the home of the19th century European elite.

Circa 1875

45" high

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Price: $44,500
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