Presented here an antique baby rattle made in sterling silver & ivory, masterfully hancrafted and decorated with flowers and leaves in relief. There is a whistle at the top of the rattle and a hanging ring to attach to the baby's neck if desired. There are five (5) sterling silver bells hanging from the central widest part, and at the bottom there are two stylized pieces of ivory, the last of which can be unscrewed.
MEASURES: 147mm X 32mm (widest part)
ESTIMATED AGE: circa 1890
GENERAL CONDITIONS: very good general conditions, no missing or broken parts, please refer to the pictures.
A BIT OF HISTORY...
Histories suggest that the invention of the baby rattle dates back to at least 2,500 years. One of the earliest examples of a baby rattle was uncovered in a grave of a baby from the Iron Age in Poland. The rattle was found right next to the urn containing the cremated remains of the baby. This particular rattle is a pillow-shaped rattle made from clay and was filled with little balls.
It’s also believed that some cultures use rattles to ward off evil spirits. Tiny figurines which might have been used as rattles were found on the northwest shore of Lake Itkul in the Minusinsk basin of Russia. Some of these rattles were made from deer antlers and have hollow cavities that produce sounds. These toys might have been attached to something similar to a cradle and were used to protect little children from evil spirits which were prevalent during this period.
The Greco-Roman civilization also had toys that were similar to modern baby rattles. These baby rattles were unearthed from Greco-Roman archeological sites and came in a form of either a pig or a bear. Some of these toys even feature a baby riding one of these animals.
Many scholars believe that rattles were more than just toys in the ancient times. They were objects used during rituals and offerings to appease gods and ward off evil spirits. People in the ancient world could have believed that these toys would protect their children in life and death which is why rattles are buried next to their owners.
During the Industrial Age and colonial America, elaborate baby rattles made by artisans were pretty popular. These rattles were made from gold and silver and sometimes come with a teething device made of coral. Adornments like bells and whistles were added to these rattles.
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