• The Hunt Oliphant

    The Hunt Oliphant


The name ‘oliphant’ refers to an entire elephant tusk, hollowed out and decorated by carving. Such objects were blown in order to frighten game, or to signal to other hunters; alternatively, the smaller end could be stoppered, and the horn used as a drinking vessel.

In the context of other luxury hunting tools, oliphants are impractically heavy - this example weighs nearly two kilogrammes - and their role was therefore more about conspicuous display than practical necessity.

Carved and incised ivory, bronze
Norman, Sicily or southern Italy
Mid-12th century