Ivory, traces of polychromy, gilding; bone (border strips)
a: 2 1/2 x 3 9/16 x 1/4 in. (6.3 x 9 x 0.6 cm)
b: 1 1/16 x 3 9/16 x 1/16 in. (2.7 x 9.1 x 0.2 cm)
c: 3 5/8 x 1 x 1/16 in. (9.2 x 2.6 x 0.2 cm)
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 300
These panels are from a casket that illustrated Joshua’s conquest of the Promised Land and carry paraphrasings of texts from the Book of Joshua. The first narrative panel, designed to fit a lock plate, shows the capture of the city of Ai and is inscribed, “And Joshua stretched out his hand toward the city and they rose up quickly and they slew all” (Joshua 8:18–19). The second panel shows the captive king of Ai, first bent in submission before Joshua and then, at the far right, hanged on a forked stake. The inscription reads, “And they brought the King of Ai to Joshua and they hanged him” (8:23, 29). The third panel, showing emissaries from the Gibeonites approaching Joshua, has the inscription, “The Gibeonites displaying their torn clothes” (9:13). Joshua’s story was often invoked in the middle Byzantine period, when Byzantines identified themselves with God’s chosen people, likening their own military victories and defeats to those of the ancient Hebrews.
Inscription: [on the frame at upper left, above Joshua’s head]: IHCOYC (Joshua); [at upper right]: H ΓABAONHTE EΠH AΦIKNYMENOC TA HMATHA AYTωN ΔHPOΓOTA (The Gibeonites Displaying Their Torn Clothes [adapted from Joshua 9:13])
George Brauer, Paris (sold 1912); J. Pierpont Morgan, London and New York (1912 - 1913); Estate of J. Pierpont Morgan(1913–1917)
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