Olifant: Geschichte und Geschichten um Elfenbein

An oliphant is an ivory horn. (The oliphants linked below are identified by their museum accession numbers.) Most of the examples I've found were made in southern Italy in the 11th or 12th centuries, and appear with different styles of carving around the surface of the ivory; some later examples have little or no surface carving.

Perhaps the most famous oliphant in medieval literature is Roland's:

Rollant ad mis l'olifan a sa buche,
Empeint le ben, par grant vertut le sunet.
Halt sunt li pui e la voiz est mult lunge,
Granz .XXX. liwes l'oïrent il respundre.

Roland hath set the olifant to his mouth,
He grasps it well, and with great virtue sounds.
High are those peaks, afar it rings and loud,
Thirty great leagues they hear its echoes mount.

The Grove Dictionary of Art suggests that Roland’s oliphant “may have contributed to, or at least reflected, the widespread popularity of this kind of horn as the hero’s horn par excellence.”

Extant Oliphants

Oliphants in Illustrations

Additional illustrations of hunting horns can be found in the hunting iconography linkspage.