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The Adoration of the Magi

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Enkirch (probably, made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1500 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Stained glass

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The magi ('wise men') were traditionally astrologers of the Persian court and priests of the cult of Mithras, but were later redefined as kings. In the early Middle Ages they were given names, and, from the 15th century, Balthazar, the black magus/king, became a familiar figure in European images of the Adoration of Christ at his birth. The three magi/kings were often depicted as representatives of the three known continents - Europe, Asia and Africa (America only became known to Europeans at the end of the 15th century). They were also meant to represent the three ages of life - old age, middle age and youth. The black magi/king was usually depicted as the youngest of the three, as in this example.

Physical description

Medallion depicting the Adoration of the Magi and a coat of arms. The eldest, depicted with a long white beard, kneels before the Virgin and child. The middle-aged magus is turning towards the youngest and points towards the sky with his right hand. The third magus is depicted as a young black man.

Place of Origin

Enkirch (probably, made)


ca. 1500 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Stained glass


Diameter: 15 in

Descriptive line

Stained glass medallion depicting the Adoration of the Magi and the arms of a priest of Enkirch on the Moselle, German, ca. 1500.

Production Note

Probably from the Enkirch region on the Moselle.

Subjects depicted

Magi; Fish; Christianity; Flower; Crown


Stained Glass; Christianity; Black History


Ceramics Collection

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