Nave ships on our website

From: Museum Collection

The section Decorative Arts and Jewellery (the subsection Western European Metal Artworks) has been enriched by new exhibits. The unique table silver figgery in the form of medieval ships are presented n our website.

Naves in the form of ships were very popular and symbolic interior items in Western Europe in XIV-XVI centuries. As well as having utilitarian functions, such as decoration of merry feasts, storage of wine or spices, these objects were allocated with a certain sacral value as well. It was considered that naves protected food and drinks from poison, and, therefore, were capable to save their owners from death and from hardships during the difficulties of everyday life as well, or to give hope to those who suffer the shipwreck. However, by the 16th century ships-cups became irrelevant, they fade into the desktop ornament. The tiny models of ships with corresponding equipment and complete rigging distinguished by a masterful delicacy of work became popular and gained the greatest recognition at that time. This phenomenon somehow reflected the major achievements in navigation and great geographical discoveries.

The European jewellers of the second half of the 19th century who worked in historicism style – the style which was characterized by reconstruction of old forms and using the ornamental motives patterns from the art of gone epochs – turned to the reproduction of the similar desktop decoration.