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Panel

  • Place of origin:

    Byzantine Empire (made)

  • Date:

    11th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Carved ivory

  • Museum number:

    1985-1899

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Carved ivory panel depicting the Visitation and the Presentation in the Temple in two compartments; on the other side a floriated cross. It has been suggested that it served as an amulett to be rubbed by barren women.

The purpose of this plaque is difficult to trace, as there no traces of mounts, holes or hinges. There can be no doubt that the unusual and very localised wear, which has reduced the body of the Child Christ and the heads of the Virgin and Elisabeth in the Visitation to almost formless shape, is the result of continuous rubbing or kissing over a long period of time, so it is highly likely that the plaque was either mounted as an enkolpium or was loose, to be held i the hand.

Physical description

Carved ivory panel depicting the Visitation and the Presentation in the Temple in two compartments; on the other side a floriated cross. The Visitation with Elisabeth embracing the Virgin, and the Presentation in the Temple, with the Virgin presenting the Infant Christ to Simeon, and Joseph and the prophetess Anna standing behind them. There are faint traces of a later inscription in ink above the scene of the Presentation. On the back is a tall cross with rosettes at the ends of the arms and two flowering acanthus shoots growing from it at the bottom.

Place of Origin

Byzantine Empire (made)

Date

11th century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Carved ivory

Dimensions

Height: 11.4 cm, Width: 5.6 cm

Object history note

Purchased from J. and M.L. Tregaskis, London, in 1899.

Historical context note

The purpose of this plaque is difficult to trace, as there no traces of mounts, holes or hinges. There can be no doubt that the unusual and very localised wear, which has reduced the body of the Child Christ and the heads of the Virgin and Elisabeth in the Visitation to almost formless shape, is the result of continuous rubbing or kissing over a long period of time, so it is highly likely that the plaque was either mounted as an enkolpium or was loose, to be held i the hand.

Descriptive line

Panel, carved ivory, depicting the Presentation in the Temple, Byzantine, 11th century

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

List of Objects in the Art Division South Kensington Museum acquired during the Year 1899. Arranged according to the dates of acquisition, with appendix and indices. London: Her Majesty's Stationary Office. Wyman and Sons. 1903. pp.270
Longhurst, Margaret, H. Catalogue of Carvings in Ivory. I. London: The Board of Education, 1929. pp.46
Cutler, A. The Hand of the Master: Craftsmanship, Ivory and Society in Byzantium 9th- 11th century. Princeton. 1994. pp.28-29.
Williamson, Paul. Medieval Ivory Carvings. Early Christian to Romanesque. London, V&A Publishing, Victoria and Albert Museum, 2010, pp. 125, 6, cat.no. 29

Materials

Ivory

Techniques

Carving

Subjects depicted

Cross

Categories

Sculpture; Christianity; Religion; Plaques & Plaquettes

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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