Tag Archives: religious art

“Castle of Love” in Ivory


Ivory is one of the world’s most treasured natural resources; a substance often used for everything from furniture to medicine.  While it’s illegal to purchase and import products made of pure ivory, ancient ivory artifacts hold a unique place in cultural lore.  This piece is what’s left of a French medieval mirror case, c. 1350 A.D.  Currently housed at the Louvre, the “Castle of Love” most likely refers to a medieval religious play of the same name; one of the earliest known writings in the French language.  The scene depicts a castle coming under attack by knights and a group of women defending it, as an angel overlooks the chaos.  There are some obviously romantic, if not sexual, connotations in the design; a couple of the knights making contact with some of the women.  It’s always interesting to see so much eroticism present in religious artwork; considering how badly religious leaders tried to suppress sexual desire.


Filed under Classics