Skip to content

René Lalique Carved Horn Mask Pendant Necklace

Created by René Lalique circa 1910, this pendant necklace is composed of molded and carved buffalo horn. The reverse-tapering form with raised edges and cut-corners depicts a relief-carved trio of masks, designed as two grotesque "mascheroni" of satyrs flanking a maenad, among sinuous locks of floating hair, and all spouting streams of cascading water. Formed of an experimental material whose use Lalique pioneered in jewelry, this subtle, beautifully-carved pendant represents one of the artist's rare forays into classical historicism, blended with Symbolist exuberance.

Add to Wishlist

  • Product Details
  • Curator's Notes

Item #: N-21369
Artist: René Lalique
Country: France
Circa: 1910
Dimensions: 2.75" length, 1.00" width.
Materials: Molded and carved buffalo horn; 18K gold; (with later chain)
Signed: R. LALIQUE

According to the jeweler and historian Henri Vever, Lalique used horn for the first time in 1896, employing a large slice of white material to create a bracelet inset with silver elements that he exhibited at the Salon that year. In 1897, he created "an entire showcase of horn ...combs which attracted considerable praise. The City of Paris purchased two of decorated with nasturtiums, the other with umbelliferous plants; we believe they are now kept at the Musée Galliera." Lightweight, layerable, ranging in hue from translucent to rich brown, and able to be bowed, carved, and molded into fantastic forms, horn was eminently suitable for head ornaments such as combs and tiaras, among other forms. Japanese carvers who worked with horn as part of their traditional practice were said to have been active in Paris in this period. In 1898, the critic Jean Lorrain praised a Lalique horn comb based, he judged, on Pompeian reliefs, a possible source of inspiration for the grotesques of this pendant as well.