from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- adj. Made of gold and ivory, as certain pieces of sculpture or artwork in ancient Greece.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- adj. Made of gold and ivory.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- adj. Composed of, or adorned with, gold and ivory.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Composed of gold and ivory: specifically, in ancient art, applied to statues overlaid with plates of gold and ivory.
What boots it to tell that the arms and vesture of this "chryselephantine" statue are of pure gold; that the flesh portions are of gleaming ivory; that Phidias has wrought the whole so nobly together that this material, too sumptuous for common artists, becomes under his assembling the perfect substance for the manifestation of deity?
"chryselephantine;" that is, composed of ivory and gold; the parts representing flesh being of ivory laid on a core of wood or stone, while the drapery and other ornaments were of gold.
In the further wall was an alcove whose curtains, bestrung with pearls, were let down and I saw a light issuing therefrom; so I drew near and perceived that the light came from a precious stone as big as an ostrich egg, set at the upper end of the alcove upon a little chryselephantine couch of ivory and gold; and this jewel, blazing like the sun, cast its rays wide and side.
Every pedestal that held a golden vase of peacock feathers or a priceless work of art was chryselephantine—delicately carved ivory inlaid with gold.
I mean the kind of colossal gold and ivory “chryselephantine” in academic jargon creations that once dominated the inside of the Parthenon or the Temple of Zeus at Olympia.
Its moisture helped preserve the ivory of the chryselephantine colossus, though temple priests also burnished it with more oil daily.
It was a young woman in silvery satins of a Renascence design; she had golden hair in two long shining ropes, and a face so startingly pale between them that she might have been chryselephantine — made, that is, like some old Greek statues, out of ivory and gold.
In fact, at the very time when work was being done on the Parthenon pediments, the rounded statues closest to his attested work, he was elsewhere, completing his second-most-famous statue, the chryselephantine Zeus at Olympia.
While the Akropolis was being decorated, Pheidias was busy with many commissions for his specialty: freestanding statues, mainly outsize, bronze when not chryselephantine, i.e., plated with gold and ivory over a wooden core, which took protracted labor by his large team of helpers.
Phidias is best known for his colossal chryselephantine (gold and ivory) statue of Athena in the Parthenon and of Zeus at Olympia, but he also designed the architectural sculptures of the Parthenon (Elgin Marbles).