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Panel - Scenes from teh Passion of Christ

Scenes from teh Passion of Christ

  • Object:

    Panel

  • Place of origin:

    Lower Rhine (probably, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 980-1000 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Ivory

  • Museum number:

    1-1872

  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 8, The William and Eileen Ruddock Gallery, case 9

The plaque was probably part of a book cover, perhaps a Gospel book, made probably in the Lower Rhine, in the late 10th century. The three scenes are packed with narrative detail. In the upper scene, showing the Crucifixion, the two soldiers can be seen: Longinus with his spear and Stephaton with a bucket and vinegar sponge.
Books which were kept in Carolingian and Ottonian treasuries were highly valued and had their contents glorified through the addition of decorative book covers. These could be adorned with expensive and highly worked materials: precious metals, jewels, semi-precious stones and often ivory. This ivory panel was probably a book cover. It has been punctured with three holes, presumably for attachment. It belongs to a group of ivories, probably from the same workshop, which include a panel in Essen and a casket in the Victoria and Albert Museum (216-1866). The lower part of the scene of the Maries at the sepulchre is almost identical to that on the casket, and that of the Harrowing of Hell is also very similar.

Physical description

Oblong ivory panel carved with scenes from The Passion in three registers. The top compartment cotains the Crucifixion with, to the left, the Virgin and Longinus; to the right, Saint John and Stephaton; at the very top the arms of the cross are personifications of the Sun and Moon, holding their attributes. In the central compartment are the Maries at the Sepulchre, with two angels seated at the entrance to the tomb and two sleeping soldiers to the right. In the bottom compartment the Harrowing of Hell, the Ascension and, on the right, Christ in Glory. The carving is considerably worn.

Place of Origin

Lower Rhine (probably, made)

Date

ca. 980-1000 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Ivory

Dimensions

Height: 22.5 cm, Width: 9.8 cm, Depth: 0.6 cm, Weight: 0.14 kg

Object history note

From the Webb collection (£75), previously in the Essingh Collection, Cologne (sale 1865, no.849).
The plaque was made in the same provincial workshop - probably in teh Lower Rhine area - as a casket in the V&A collection (Inv.no. 216-1866) and a comb in the Domschatzkammer in Essen.

Historical context note

Books which were kept in Carolingian and Ottonian treasuries were highly valued and had their contents glorified through the addition of decorative book covers. These could be adorned with expensive and highly worked materials: precious metals, jewels, semi-precious stones and often ivory. This ivory panel was probably a book cover. It has been punctured with three holes, presumably for attachment. It belongs to a group of ivories, probably from the same workshop, which include a panel in Essen and a casket in the Victoria and Albert Museum (216-1866). The lower part of the scene of the Maries at the sepulchre is almost identical to that on the casket, and that of the Harrowing of Hell is also very similar.

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Descriptive line

Panel, ivory, oblong, carved with scenes from The Passion, probably Lower Rheinisch, late 10th century

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

Longhurst, M. Catalogue of Carvings in Ivory. London: Published, under the authority of the Board of Education, 1927-29, p. 74
Goldschmidt, A. Die Elfenbeinskulpturen aus der Zeit der karolingischen und sächsischen Kaiser. VIII.-XI. Jahrhundert (Elfenbeinskulpturen II), Berlin, 1918 (reprinted, Berlin, 1970), p. 9, cat. no. 85, pl. XXVIII
List of Objects in the Art Division, South Kensington, Acquired During the Year 1872, Arranged According to the Dates of Acquisition. London : Printed by George E. Eyre and William Spottiswoode for H.M.S.O., p. 1
Williamson, Paul. Medieval Ivory Carvings. Early Christian to Romanesque. London, V&A Publishing, Victoria and Albert Museum, 2010, pp. 230, 1, cat. no. 57

Production Note

Possibly made in Halberstadt or Quedlinburg

Materials

Ivory

Techniques

Carving

Subjects depicted

Moon; Sun

Categories

Sculpture; Religion; Christianity

Collection

Sculpture Collection

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