Posted 8 years ago
Incredible gold slide, circa 1640, enameled in black and white, the front with symbols of mortality and reverse with symbols of immortality. The front features symbols of death - a skull and crossbones. an hour glass [tempus fugit] the lamp of the last supper a serpent-entwined staff [death and evil] and 4 instances of a 'double phi' which would have stood for the deceased person's initials, i.e., PP.
On the reverse are the initials 'MM' for 'memento mori' and symbols of immortality - a serpent forming a circle of eternity, a flower symbolizing immortality and lover's knots.
The slide measures 2.6 cm by 2 cm [1 and 1/8 inches by 3/4 of an inch]. There is some damage to enamel on both sides on this incredibly rare and finely executed memento mori slide.
There is a similar slide in Joyaux Renaissance-Une Splendour Retrouvee published by J. Kugel, plate 131. This piece has a larger skull and is circa dated 1630. In addition, see Joan Evans History Of Jewellery Plate 125 [also in the jewelry collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum].