A Noble Pair: Carved and Painted Deer with Antlers

A Pair of 19th Century Deer with Antlers Mackinnon Fine Furniture Collection

A Pair of 19th Century Deer with Antlers
Mackinnon Fine Furniture Collection

We are taking a quick break from our usual English antique furniture posts to share what is arguably our most charming recent acquisition: a pair of carved and painted deer with antlers.  In our exploration of deer and their cultural history, we are sharing other depictions of deer from a wide range of cultures and traditions.

Deer 3

Greek terracotta statuette of a deer, late 6th century BCE 
Metropolitan Museum of Art

Deer hold special meaning in many religions and cultures.  In the Buddhist tradition, deer represent harmony, happiness, and serenity.  The Buddha gave his first sermon within the tranquil landscape of the Deer Park at Sarnath.

Deer 1

Suzuki Kiitsu, Edo period hanging scroll depicting a deer 
Metropolitan Museum of Art

In Greek mythology, the goddess Artemis is associated with the deer.  In the Christian faith, the deer symbolises piety and devotion.  The legend of Saint Eustance tells a story of how Placida, a Roman general, was hunting and saw a vision of Christ between the antlers of a deer.  In that moment the Roman military officer took the name Eustance and converted to Christianity.

Deer 2

A Peruvian Chimú silver deer vessel, 14th-15th century 
Metropolitan Museum of Art

The deer’s antlers are part of the mythology of the animal.  The antlers fall off each season, and the deer will regrow a new pair in its place, which makes the deer a symbol of regeneration.

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A Pair of 19th Century Deer with Antlers
Mackinnon Fine Furniture Collection

This particular pair of deer, carved in wood and mounted with real stag antlers, originate from Thailand.  The deer are substantial in size and would be ideal for any country interior.

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