Details
NORTH INDIAN, 17TH CENTURY
Bezoar or goa stone case
silver filigree; on a modern stand
234 in. (7 cm.) high; 212 in. (6.5 cm.) wide
Special notice
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Lot Essay

Bezoar stone, which is a calcified concretion found in the stomachs of some animals, was prized for its supposed medicinal properties as well as being believed to act as an antidote to poison. The scarcity of bezoar stones by the 17th century led a group of Portuguese Jesuits working in Goa to come up with a man-made version. These so called 'Goa Stones' were a mixture of bezoar as well as other precious objects believed to have curative powers. Until the beginning of the 18th century, when medical authorities began to debunk the belief in these stones, they could sell for more then their weight in gold and were often contained in cases such as the example offered here.
A comparable North Indian example was sold anonymously at Christie's, London, 6 October 2011, lot 391. However, similar examples to the present lot have also been found to be German in orgin. A very similar example appears in I. Heller, Europäische Goldschmiedearbeiten 1560-1860, vol. II, exhibition catalogue, Aachen, Couven Museum, 2003, p. 28, no. 61A, while another sold from The Collection of the late Charlotte von Prybram-Gladona and other Noble and Private Collections at Christie's, Amsterdam, 15-16 February 2005, lot 202.

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