The intricate carvings on the Oliphants, as seen in the Oliphant at the Metropolitan Museum of Art show a meticulous spirit in the carver. Perhaps it was culture and tradition that dictated such workmanship at that era, but the intricacy of the design is impressive. Although there are Oliphants that are simply decorated as well, yet the design in still beautiful, as it is designed by hand. Aside from historical accounts of such, there is also the religious historical aspect that is associated with the Oliphants. As documented, it is stated that decorated Oliphants, usually with animals and scrolls are usually correlated with traditional Islam settings.
The Oliphants is one of the unique creations of man that is functional – as it is used as a horn, and at the same time, an instrument of self-expression as it is designed intricately with meticulously done carvings, and even adorned with silver bands.
As documented, the documentation of Oliphants is usually associated with traditional Islamic imagery. “Oliphant”, being a word borrowed from old French, meaning “elephant”, was first documented in the (English) translation of the Song of Roland in the 12th century. It was describing the ivory sounding horn that the hero, Roland, used to summon for assistance during the battle of Roncesvalles. This was shortly before his death at the hands of the Arabian enemy in 778. These Oliphants are noted to have been carved from an elephant tusk and was originally banded with silver, and hung with a cord. These horns produced a low, but loud call and were prized symbols of wealth and power, passed down through the centuries in Europe’s treasure houses.
Through this work of art, my curiosity upon its history has introduced to me the historical accounts linked to such an object of art, as well as its religious