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Silver brush back

Amsterdam, 17th century

Origin: Amsterdam

Date: 17th Century

Master: Sigismund Zschammer, active from 1661-1693.

Dimensions: Height: 7 cm, 8.5 x 8 cm.

Particularities: Indistinctly marked at the back of the brush which is often the case.

Considering the popularity of women’s domestic preoccupations, for instance, getting ready before her dressing table, it is no surprise that these small luxury objects became a popular present for a lady. On the plain oval surface of the silver brushback an engraving has been applied: “Maria Boft” which means: “Mary is in luck.”

The oval shape and dimensions of these brushes were determined mainly by their function, they were used as a clothes brush. Delftware potters also produced elongated brushes, often with very attractive decorations,  the unglazed underside with pierced holes for the bristles. The image of a woman before her mirror can be read as a symbol of pride and lust, or simply a pleasurable and intimate feminine ritual. The subject is well known in Dutch genre paining of the second half of the 17th century.

The indistinct maker’s mark is from the Amsterdam silversmith Sigismund Zschammer, born in Joachimstadt in Bohemia, and active in Amsterdam from 1661 onwards. There is at least one other silver bush known from him.

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