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Temple Pendant with Two Sirens Flanking a Tree of Life (front) and Confronted Birds (back)

Date:
11th–12th century
Geography:
Made in Kiev
Culture:
Kievan Rus'
Medium:
Cloisonné enamel, gold
Dimensions:
Overall: 2 3/8 x 2 1/4 x 9/16 in. (6 x 5.7 x 1.4 cm)
Classification:
Enamels-Cloisonné
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
17.190.680
  • Description

    When Kievan Rus, a powerful new state to the north of the Byzantine Empire, accepted Christianity as its official religion in 988, the aristocracy also adopted the manners and dress of the Byzantine court. Local artists soon produced their own versions of Constatinopolitan fashions. This temple pendant of precious metals worked in cloisonné enamel or niello are local variants of the more intricately detailed works made for the Byzantine court.

    As in Byzantium, temple pendants may have been worn next to the face by both the men and the women of Rus. The works shown here were perhaps buried by their owners when the Mongol armies under Batu Khan sacked Kiev in 1240.

  • Provenance

    Alex W. von Zvenigorodskii (1837–1903), Russia; J. Pierpont Morgan, London and New York (until 1917)

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
464554

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