[ivory carving] The tusks of the elephant and other animals, a tough, white, elastic substance, capable of a high polish. Since prehistoric times it has been used in the arts: diptychs of ivory are among the first examples of Christian art; plaques were made for book covers; cylindrical pyxes were made of carved ivory; bishops' chairs were overlaid with the same material. During the Middle Ages pyxes, tabernacles, caskets, statuettes, etc., were made of ivory.

New Catholic Dictionary

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