Natural Pearl Dove with a ring in its beak

Natural Pearl Dove with a ring in its beak

Natural Pearl Dove with a ring in its beak

Dove with a ring in its beak, probably Germany, before 1706. Baroque pearl, gold, silver, enamel, agate, diamonds. H 10.0 cm. Green Vault, VI 86. © Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden

The pearly pigeon, which has spread its wings, each set with 21 diamonds, seems to be flying. The bird is mounted by means of a spring on the massive agate postament so that it starts moving at the slightest touch or vibration of the base. The tail, which is only loosely attached to the rear end of the bead body, and the ring which the pigeon holds in its beak, in this case oscillate back and forth. This special construction, reminiscent of the figures with a wobbly head, invites playful use of the small figure. This is also necessary to know the meaning of the upcoming flight, about which the enameled inscription of the ring gives information: "Je vole, ou L'amour m'apelle" (I fly to where my love calls me). The dove, which was already sacred in the ancient mythology of the goddess Aphrodite, stands in Christian iconography for love, purity, faithfulness and innocence. The peaceful and tender character, which was said to the bird, and its extraordinary local instinct made him, as in this case, appear as a suitable love messenger. It is well conceivable that such an ingenious pretense with the poetically packed message has served a cavalier as a little attention to the lady he admires.

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