Clasp with Intaglio Medallion of the Virgin and Child
- 6th century
- Overall: 11/16 x 1 11/16 x 3/16 in. (1.8 x 4.3 x 0.5 cm)
- Credit Line:
- Gift of Helen Miller Gould, 1910
- Accession Number:
The incised image and the inscription on the reverse expressed the owner’s devotion to the Virgin as the Theotokos, Mother of God.
As Christianity became the dominant religion in Byzantine society, Christian imagery was increasingly found on jewelry. Crosses appear by the fifth century; the Virgin Mary, saints, angels, and other holy figures became popular in the sixth century. The images were thought to protect the wearer, aid in prayers, and even perform miracles.