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  • Harry Fane

Cartier's crossed wires??

To me, at first glance, this Cartier objet d'art looks distinctly Oriental...Cartier borrowing from the Orient for inspiration. But, upon closer reflection, here we can see a turquoise enamel panel set into a moss agate blade decorated with small Egyptian hieroglyphics. In addition, the large agate carving is clearly a scarab which was associated with the divine manifestation of the early morning sun in early Egyptian religious beliefs. This firmly places this paper-knife into Cartier's 'Egyptian' influenced period and into the realm of the 'holy of holies'! Tutankhamun mania reached fever pitch after his nearly intact tomb was discovered by Howard Cartier in 1922. Cartier fell under the spell of this extraordinary discovery and created a series of jewels and objets d'art which incorporated ancient Egyptian artifacts into their designs. This was radical and brave and these pieces soon became highly prized not just for their design but for their tapping into Tutankhamun mania. Today, these early, Egyptian influenced Cartier items from this particular and short-lived era, are very highly sought after which explains how this previously unknown piece, made US $ 44,500 at auction this week in Paris.

To me, I still see a little Chinese influence...especially in the rope work...maybe slightly crossed wires but what the heck?!...this is a brave and bold object...Cartier at their strongest..

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