The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford has recently called attention to a magnificent ostrich egg cup on Twitter:
#WorldEggDay Silver gilt cup & cover enclosing an ostrich-egg, 46cm tall, made for the prince of Transylvania c. 1576 pic.twitter.com/6Y6ZbA0oem— Ashmolean Museum (@AshmoleanMuseum) October 9, 2015
The object is part of the Wellby bequest, which entered the Ashmolean collections in 2012, and has recently been put on a new, permanent display. The objects can be browsed on the website of the museum, where the following information is given about the ostrich egg cup:
"Silver gilt cup and cover enclosing an ostrich-egg. The body has embossed and enamelled decoration in red, blue, green and white, three vertical straps, surmounted by masks. The cover has three pierced straps enamelled decoration with crosses and fleur-des-lys. The finial is an ostrich-egg holding up a shield with a crowned coat of arms [...] Made for the prince (waivoda) of Transylvania, a member of the Habsburg family, who ruled as a vassel of the Ottoman Empire. The inside of the egg has silver-gilt meticulously decorated with intersecting curving lines. The egg has been replaced or stripped."
The website also gives the insciption around the coat of arms on top of the lid of the cup:
CHRIST BATHORY WAIVODAE. TRANSYLVANIAE. COMITIS SICULORUM 1576
This inscription enables us to identify the owner of the cup more precisely: it was not made for the Prince of Transylvania - who in 1576 was Stephen Báthory - but for his brother, Cristopher (Krisfóf) Báthory.
Stephen Báthory, Prince of Transylvania and King of Poland
(Giulio Ricci, 1586 - Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest)