Carved Ostrich Egg

This hollow carved ostrich egg hides a few #secrets. One #secret is the symbols which are hidden messages for support for the exiled Stewart monarchy which saw the Jacobite’s fight for their return at Culloden in 1745. The other #secret is how it ended up in our museum; who created such a beautiful object? It appears to have been carved in West Africa given that part of the carving seems to belong to a West African decorative tradition. Perhaps the egg was commissioned by a Scottish client in Africa after James Francis Edward Stuart died in Rome in 1766? The museum has no record of the egg in its existing catalogues and the older catalogues have been research to see if there is any mention of an egg but to no avail. The information may be hidden deep in a donor archive or in an old label lost in the store or perhaps it will forever remain a #secret….

ostrich egg

Inscribed: “J[ACOBUS] R[EX] 1766”; monogram: “J.R.”



About uoamuseums

The University of Aberdeen's Museums include King’s Museum and the University's Zoology Museum. The museums can claim to be Scotland's oldest, with records of museums and collections as far back as the late 17th century. Thanks to their status as a Recognised Collection of national significance, the Zoology Museum’s displays are currently being improved, while King's Museum hosts changing exhibitions drawn from across the collections, particularly those formerly in Marischal Museum. Visitors are warmly welcomed to the museums, and there are no charges for admission. Marischal College now houses the Museums Collections Centre, caring for and conserving many of the collections.
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