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Tiffany Studios Scarab and Mosaic Box

A Tiffany Studios New York "Scarab" mosaic and gilt bronze covered box. This round box is decorated with vivid mosaics of red, yellow, orange, green, turquoise blue and black. The cover has three applied favrile glass scarab beetles. The scarabs confirm Tiffany''s fascination for Egyptian archeological discoveries and are a fine expression of his inspiration. Louis Comfort Tiffany first traveled to Egypt in 1872, two years after the opening of the Suez Canal and near the height of the ensuing American "Eyptomania." Tiffany was immediately taken with the ancient cultural legacies and starkly exotic landscape of 19th Century Egypt, and upon his return to New York he devoted himself to the rendering of several large scale oil paintings depicting the landscape, ancient wonders and then modern architecture of Cairo and the surrounding area. From that point onward the aesthetic language of ancient Egypt was never far from Tiffany''s mind, and it would appear in various motif forms in various works for the rest of his artistic career. Those works that demonstrate Tiffany''s great passion and careful study of ancient Egypt are now considered among the rarest and most collectible of his oeuvre. After a second Nile River Cruise in 1908 Tiffany resolved to celebrate his long enchantment with all things Egyptian with a Fete that would be written about for decades to come. Invitatio ... ns to the strictly Egyptian-themed evening were on aged parchment in both hieroglyphs and English, and hand delivered to each of the bash''s 400 guests. Each of the attendees had to submit their costumes to astrict guidelines of authenticity overseen by a committee comprised of Egyptologists and authorities on costume art. Egyptian-inspired music, composed by Theodore Steinway, was performed by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra as Pedro de Cordoba, playing Marc Antony, brought gifts of Favrile glass to a posing Cleopatra. Tiffany''s sons-in-law were dressed as Roman lictors, while his daughters were adorned with rare scarab objects from Tiffany''s personal collection, fashioned as jewelry. Robert De Forest, the famed president of the Metropolitan Museum of American Art, arrived as the one of the Maharajas of Punjab; John D. Rockefeller attended dressed as a pharaoh and Egyptian beauty queens wearing gigantic scarab wings served them North African fare. Tiffany spared no detail and no expense to recreate the opulence of ancient Egyptian courts, and created many decorative arts especially for the occasion. Tiffany was particularly interested in the importance of the scarab beetle in Egyptian mythology, and sparingly employed decorative depictions of the insect in his works, most probably due to his understanding of the supreme and sacred nature of the motif. However, those works that did include scarabs executed in the ancient Egyptian style are considered of special personal importance to Tiffany, and are especially important to find in Tiffany collections. The Egyptian name for the beetle is derived from the verb "to be created" or "to come into the world." The Egyptians considered the beetle to be the incarnation of the creator god, who had regenerated himself cyclically. The beetle was thus understood as a potent symbol of rebirth, and was tied to understandings of the daily rising sun. A similar mosaic box is pictured in: Tiffany Lamps and Metalware: An illustrated reference to over 2000 models, by Alastair Duncan, Woodbridge: Suffolk: Antique Collectors'' Club, 1988 p. 433, plate 1716; and in: Louis C. Tiffany: The Garden Museum Collection, by Alastair Duncan, Woodbridge: Suffolk: Antique Collectors'' Club, 2004, p. 370.

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Tiffany Studios Scarab and Mosaic Box