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nautilus cup

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This goblet is made from a nautilus shell. The shell comes from a variety of squib, the nautilus, with an external skeleton in the form of a shell. The exotic shell is fitted in a gilded silver mounting. The foot is decorated with shields and garlands, the stem with figures including dragons.
Neptune, the god of the sea, is mounted on the top of the goblet, riding a seahorse. He holds a trident in his hand, his usual attribute. Two tritons are depicted next to him. These are mythological creatures who were half fish and half man. They are holding a wind instrument to their lips and accompany the sea god Neptune.
A female figure has been attached to the front of the shell. The way in which she is attached to the exterior of the shell is reminiscent of a ship's figure head. The gilded rim of the goblet is engraved on both sides. On the inside a scene of the Abduction of Europa is engraved. It is based on a print by Bernard Salomon. The Greek myth tells of Europa, who was on the beach with some friends when a beautiful bull passed by. It was Zeus, the king of the gods, who had transformed himself into the animal. Europa climbed onto the back of the bull and was abducted to the island of Crete, where she bore three sons to the king of the gods.
This special collector's item combines the 'naturalia' (objects from nature) and the 'artificialia' (items produced by man), which were collected in 17th-century cabinets of curiosities.

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Collection book

Collection book Order


Title nautilus cup
Material and technique Nautilus shell, silver, gilting, mother-of-pearl, pearl, precious stones
Object type
Nautilus cup > Display beaker > Display drinking vessels > Commemorative ware > Serveware > Service > Set > Tableware > Kitchen and household > Utensil
Location This object is in storage
Dimensions Height 30 cm
Width Error: 11,3 is not a valid BCD value cm
Depth 22 cm
Artists Goldsmith: Anoniem
Accession number MBZ 185 (KN&V)
Credits Bruikleen / Loan: Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed 1953 (NK-collectie)
Department Applied Arts & Design
Acquisition date 1953
Creation date in circa 1590
Internal exhibitions Futuro, utopie in constructie (2011)
External exhibitions Boijmans bij de Buren - REMIX ROTTERDAM, Boijmans X Wereldmuseum (2020)
Research Alma
Gilding > Gilded > Plate > Metallized > Covering surfaces > General technique > Technique > Material and technique
Gilding > Gilded > Plate > Metallized > Covering surfaces > General technique > Technique > Material and technique
Geographical origin The Netherlands > Western Europe > Europe
Place of manufacture Rotterdam > South Holland > The Netherlands > Western Europe > Europe

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