Finely carved mother-of-pearl shell (one of pair) depicting a village scene, with horses and figures in Chinese traditional clothing engaged in everyday activities.

Carved shells such as these were produced during the nineteenth century particularly for the Western export market, and thus typically depict scenes that are easily identifiable, through their setting and clothing, as Chinese. They would often be mounted on a wooden stand, so that they might be displayed.

According to the inventory of John Twycross' estate in 1889, his mansion on Glen Huntly road, Caulfield - 'Emmarine' - had several shells displayed in various rooms. However, it is perhaps most likely that this pair are the same as the '2 large shells' noted as being displayed on the mantlepiece in the drawing room.

Physical Description

Large mother-of-pearl shell, carved on one side with intricate scenes of everyday life. No markings.

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