3. The Silver-Capped Twisted Section of an Ancient Unicorn’s Horn

Northern Europe, AD 1526–1698 
Size: 42 cm long

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It is probable that at one time this section of a horn was preserved as a precious relic in an ecclesiastical treasury. Apart from representing the Annunciation, such horns were believed to act as an antidote to disease, the Evil Eye and other such inconveniences. Belief in these therapeutic qualities are still recorded throughout the 17th century, and probably later, long after the Council of Trent had banned them from churches, on the basis that by then nobody believed in the existence of unicorns. Its dynamic torque is most unusual.

Provenance: Jean-Claude Ciancimino, London

A radiocarbon dating measurement report from RSD Lockinge is available.