Elephant in the room: Ivory

I don’t know about you, but I take my daily dose of steaming hot coffee for granted. Of course there will be beans to grind each morning, awaiting my eager lips. Or at my local Caribou. Or in the Friends of the Institute’s office. Of course!

A century or more ago, roasted coffee in England was as exotic as elephant’s tusk. Which must be why the silversmith fused both imported rarities in the design of this coffee pot. If you were incredibly posh, like, Downton Abbey posh, you’d pull out your sterling and ivory coffee and tea set to show guests your worldly epicurean tastes. Of course!       — Diane Richard, writer, January 19, 2017


Image: © 2012 WGBH Educational Foundation.

Timed to coincide with the recent announcement by China to halt its commercial trade of ivory, “Elephant in the Room: Ivory” is a series that highlights the use of ivory across various cultures represented in Mia’s collection. As China’s largest consumer, for art and traditional medicine, the announced ban could protect the lives of thousands of elephants a year.