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Italian Marble Blackamoor Busts

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Italian Marble Blackamoor Busts

- Item No.

This exceptional pair of 18th-century blackamoors is crafted of hand-carved marble

Key Features

  • A rare and wonderfully crafted pair of Italian marble blackamoor busts
  • The male and female figures are hand-carved and elevated upon circular plinths
  • Blackamoors have been used in heraldry, jewelry and the decorative arts for centuries
  • Their popularity spread from Venice to the courts of Europe and the homes of the aristocracy
  • Most blackamoors were made of wood or ceramics, making this original marble pair quite rare
  • Late 18th century
  • 21 1/4" high

Item Details

  • Height:
    21 1/4" Inches
  • Period:
    18th Century
  • Origin:
    Other Europe
  • Material:
A very rare and desirable pair of 18th-century Italian marble blackamoor busts of exceptional quality and condition. These male and female figures are exceptionally hand-carved and rest upon a circular, turned pedestal. Blackamoors, often referred to as Moretto or Moor's head, have been used in heraldry, jewelry, and the decorative arts for centuries. The forms represent the historic emblem of Venice, dating from the medieval period, when Saracen pirates plagued the coast of Dalmatia. Their use in decorating interiors spread quickly to the royal courts of Europe, where they were considered exotic symbols of wealth, luxury and good fortune. The popularity of blackamoors soon spread to the European aristocracy, who commissioned beautiful figures such as the current examples as a way to bring courtly fashion into their homes. Seldom do original pairs of marble blackamoors come on the market, as most were carved from wood or crafted of ceramics. 

Collection of Pierre Bergé's pied-a-terre, Pierre Hotel, New York
French antiques dealer Didier Aaron, New York

Circa 1775-1799

21 1/4" high  

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Price: $58,500
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