These two Mechelen alabaster reliefs, partially raised with gold are of very fine quality and with the original frames.
These reliefs are signed with the intials of the maker: I.T. is Izaäc Tissenaken on the underside of the alabaster relief with the house mark in between.
This carver was working around 1600 in Mechelen.
The signature and horizontal use of the panel make this alabaster a rare pair. Most alabasters are carved on a standing panel and are not signed.
The representations are from the Bible, from the Old Testament book of Exodus. Moses strikes the rock to provide water for the people of Israel, and Moses orders the manna, which comes down in the desert at night and serves as food, to be gathered.
Alabaster is a soft stone that is easily worked with a knife. The craftsmen at that time were called "cleynsteeckers".
The reliefs were glued to wooden panels and covered with a gilded papier-mâché frame.
Between the years 1560 and 1610 Mechelen was known for these alabaster reliefs.
A few similar alabaster reliefs are in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, see literature Sculpture in the Rijksmuseum, pages 157 and 158.