Hexagonal Casket with Stories from Boccaccio’s L’Ameto
carved bone, horn, wood
11 x 14.75 in
27.94 x 37.47 cm
Gift of Mr. John D. Archbold
Decorated with various panels of carved ivory, this hexagonal casket presents episodes from Giovanni Boccaccio’s poetic work known as L’Ameto. In this account, Ameto discovers beautiful nymphs in the forest, each of whom tells him a story of her life. At the poem’s conclusion, the nymphs reveal themselves as the Virtues. Scenes from the story, including Ameto’s initial encounter with the nymphs, are somewhat haphazardly displayed on the sides of the box. Six of the Virtues adorn the top of the box, each with an attributing symbol (charity, prudence, justice, fortitude, faith, and temperance). The box would have held toiletries, jewels, or important documents.