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Tusk Fragment with the Ascension

Object Name:
Oliphant
Date:
720–970 Radiocarbon date, 95% probability
Geography:
Egypt or Palestine
Culture:
Coptic
Medium:
Ivory; carved
Dimensions:
H. 7 3/4 in. (19.7 cm) W. 4 15/16 in. (12.5 cm) D. 2 3/8 in. (6 cm) Max. Th. 1 1/16 in. (2.7 cm)
Classification:
Ivories and Bone
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
17.190.46
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 302
Ivory was so highly valued in Byzantium that emperors received it in tribute. Here, a fragment of a tusk, originally carved in the round, displays one of the most important Byzantine images, the Ascension of Christ into Heaven (Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:6-11)
J. Pierpont Morgan, New York (until d. 1913; his estate 1913–17; gifted to MMA)
Early Christian Ivories vol. XXIV (1920). p. 116, notice of MMA Bulletin article.

Breck, Joseph, and Meyric R. Rogers. Pierpont Morgan Wing: A Handbook. 2 ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1929. p. 43.

Miner, Dorothy, ed. Early Christian and Byzantine Art: An Exhibition Held at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Baltimore: Walters Art Museum, 1947. no. 157, p. 50, pl. XXI.

Evans, Helen C., and Brandie Ratliff, ed. Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. no. 45A, p. 74, ill. (color).



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