“Devil’s Work” ball with fourteen movable balls | The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
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“Devil’s Work” ball with fourteen movable balls

“Devil’s Work” ball with fourteen movable balls

“Devil’s Work” ball with fourteen movable balls

Ivory

Diam: 10 cm

Bequest of Walter Herz, London

Accession number:

B66.06.0814

Arts/Asian Art

Made for export to Europe, balls such as this demanded exceptional artisanship. Several openings were drilled in a solid ivory ball, reaching almost to the center, and then special tools were used to loosen the innermost ball and carve a design in it. Successive balls were loosened and carved in the same way, each one moving freely inside the other. The outer ball is the most intricately carved, and the long chain is crafted from a single piece of ivory.

From the Israel Museum publications:

Bizarre Perfection, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 2008

Exhibitions:

Bizarre Perfection, Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 19/12/2008 - 13/06/2009