Nautilus cup, anoniem, c. 1590

Nautilus cup, anoniem, c. 1590

silver, h 32.5cm × w 19.5cm × d 11.7cm. More details

The nautilus, a mollusk related to the squid, stopped evolving millions of years ago. It is literally a living fossil, and its shell was considered one of nature’s wonders. Most of the elements of this cup – the dolphin, mermen, and Neptune on a seahorse – allude to the sea. The exception is the satyr who holds the shell aloft: he is a denizen of fields and forests.


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