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Mitre

  • Place of origin:

    Armenia (made)

  • Date:

    1650-1750 (made)
    19th century (altered)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver-gilt

  • Museum number:

    558-1883

  • Gallery location:

    Sacred Silver & Stained Glass, Room 83, The Whiteley Galleries, case 6B

The kingdom of Armenia adopted Christianity as its official religion around 314 and went on to develop its own liturgical and theological traditions. This crown-like mitre is a symbol of Christ the King, hence of the priesthood, and is worn at specific moments during a religious service. Before putting on the mitre, the priest says the following prayer, 'Put O Lord, upon my head the helmet of salvation to fight against the powers of the enemy, by the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ'.

The scenes depicted on this mitre are the Annunciation, the Baptism of Christ, the Last Supper, the Entombment and the Resurrection.

Physical description

Mitre, silver-gilt repousse work mounted on green velvet. The crown is gadrooned, rayed, pierced with floral ornament, and surmounted by a dove on an open cross set with coloured glass. Around the drum are plaques with representations of scenes in the life of Christ, groups of angels, figures of seraphs, and clusters of grapes. Around the rim is a band of foliage, above which is a star of paste diamonds.

Place of Origin

Armenia (made)

Date

1650-1750 (made)
19th century (altered)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Silver-gilt

Dimensions

Diameter: 9.875 in, Height: 9 in

Object history note

Bought from Garrard & Co, 25 Haymarket, for £105. 13 June 1883

Historical context note

The Eastern Churches
The history of the church around and beyond the eastern Mediterranean is complex. The earliest eastern churches were established in Antioch, Alexandria and other cities in the 1st century. They were independent communities and theological controversy sharpened their differences.

In 330 Constantinople (now Istanbul) became the capital of the Roman empire. Successive bishops of Constantinople, later given the title of patriarch, gradually won authority over other eastern churches, despite the opposition of the pope. Churches that accepted the jurisdiction of the patriarch became known as Orthodox, but others, including those of Armenia and Ethiopia, developed along separate lines. Diversity of practice and doctrine in the eastern churches is reflected in the different kinds of regalia and sacred silver. Yet some forms such as the chalice are common to all, indicating a shared core of beliefs.

Descriptive line

Silver-gilt, Armenia, 1650-1750

Labels and date

Armenian Mitre
The kingdom of Armenia adopted Christianity as its official religion around 314 and went on to develop its own liturgical and theological traditions. This crown-like mitre is a symbol of Christ the King, hence of the priesthood, and is worn at specific moments during a religious service. Before putting on the mitre, the priest says the following prayer, 'Put O Lord, upon my head the helmet of salvation to fight against the powers of the enemy, by the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ'.

The scenes depicted on this mitre are the Annunciation, the Baptism of Christ, the Last Supper, the Entombment and the Resurrection.

Armenia, 1650-1750, with later additions
Silver, partly gilded, with velvet, coloured glass
and pastes
Museum no. 558-1883 [22/11/2005]

Materials

Silver; Gold; Velvet; Glass

Techniques

Repoussé

Categories

Religion; Metalwork; Christianity

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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