Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Tusk Fragment with the Ascension

Object Name:
720–970 Radiocarbon date, 95% probability
Attributed to Egypt or Palestine
Ivory; carved
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)
Ivories and Bone
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
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)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition," March 14, 2012–July 8, 2012, no. 45A.

Breck, Joseph. "Two Early Christian Ivories." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, old series, vol. 14 (1919). p. 242-244, ill. p. 243 (b/w).

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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