The term Chryselephantine actually refers to something that is created using the two precious materials; gold and ivory. Sculptures with this trait were traditionally used during ancient times as culturally significant emblems or tribute works. Chryselephantine sculptures were also highly popularized as cult sculptures in Greece's long history of art and nobility. Now, just because gold and ivory are highlighted as the primary artistic materials does not mean that each Chryselephantine sculpture consists of only those types of media. Many sculptures that were uncovered by historians also contain wooden elements and semi-precious stones. The usage of many types of material made it possible for artists to portray the various parts of the human patron they were sculpting. Ivory was used to symbolize the skin, while gold was used to form the hair, armor and weaponry. Gold was often combined with the other valuable media like gemstones and glass.

Photography by Ricardo André Frantz

Two of the most known samples of Chryselephantine sculpture worldwide are sculptures from the Classical age by the artist Phidias. He created a sculpture of Athena at the Parthenon and Zeus at Olympia's main temple. Because these sculptures have a high value composition, many of them were taken apart, destroyed or stolen during different periods in history, but some were recovered by historians and are now in select museums across the globe, primed for public viewing.

On a side note, Chryselephantine sculpture was also used during the nineteenth century Art Nouveau movement in Europe. Similar symbols were observable, such as the ivory usage in skin and the gold usage for clothing and fashionables. Some sculptors who took these types of sculpture to their studios were Pierre Charles Simart and Alan LeQuire.

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