Many silver statuettes such as this one were used not only as decorative objects but also as extravagant drinking vessels. The neck of this particular statue was originally detachable, suggesting that it may have been used as a cup.The ostrich was also a relatively popular motif for small-scale silver sculptures during the 17th century as Europeans were fascinated by its size and inability to fly. A popular myth during this same time was that the Ostrich could digest metal, explaining why there are often depicted holding a horseshoe in their beak.
Sir Richard Wallace acquired this object at auction in 1872 and is now on display as part of a new exhibition, Sir Richard Wallace: The Collector, on the lower ground floor of the museum.
Dimensions: 16cm x 11.5cm
Printed in the UK
Object Details: An Ostrich Statuette, Elias Zorer, Augsburg, Germany, c.1600