Brass-gilt marriage casket attributed to the workshop of Mich(e)l and Conradt Mann

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Augsburg or Nuremberg, Germany
C. 1600
gilt brass, Iron
4.5 x 9.8 x 5 cm

Ewald Berger, 'Prunkkassetten Meisterwerke aus der Hans Schell collection', p. 128

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Attributed to the workshop of Michel Mann of Nuremberg (no maker's mark), which was renowned for intricate lock mechanisms. Engraved on the frontside, backside and on the lid with a loving couple facing each other. With a sliding brass strap hiding the keyhole. On four ball feet, the underside of the lid with an elaborate lock.

Michael Mann was born in Augsburg, trained in Nuremberg and then became a master in Augsburg dying in 1630. He made clock cases, miniature guns, and pistols as well as toy caskets such as this. In a source dated 1730 (Historische Nachrichten: von den nürbergischen Mathematicis und Künstlern) the author, J.G. Doppelmayr, notes: 'Michl Man made little iron caskets which he fitted with ingeniously wrought lochks and bolts, etched clean and gilt beautifully as well as tiny steel long guns and pistols which were also etched and gilt.' In the Hanns Schell Collection, for instance, there is a Künstlern-Historic Reports miniature lock whose workmanship and decoration assure the ascription to the workshop of the brothers Mich(e)l and Conradt Mann.


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