Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Panel from an Ivory Casket with the Story of Adam and Eve

10th or 11th century
Made in Constantinople
Ivory, gilt, polychromy
Overall: 2 5/8 x 3 11/16 x 3/16 in. (6.7 x 9.3 x 0.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 300
This panel is one from a series of scenes of the lives of Adam and Eve that originally decorated a small box. On this panel Adam and Eve, identified with Greek inscriptions, harvest grain; on the other panel they work at a metal forge (see 17.190.139). Two intact caskets that show similar scenes of Adam and Eve's toil also display Ploutos, the personification of wealth-a reminder to the owner of the treasure stored in the casket that prosperity is a gift from God and that God favors those who repent of their sins.
Inscription: Inscribed: (incised at upper left) ADAM / (top center) EVA.
Ferenc Pulszky, Pest (in 1896); Julius Campe, Hamburg; [ Julius Böhler, Munich]; J. Pierpont Morgan, London and New York (until 1917)
Molinier, Émile. Les Ivoires. Histoire générale des arts appliqués à l'industrie, Vol. 1. Paris: Librairie Centrale des Beaux-Arts, 1896. p. 107, pl. IX bis, no. 2.

Graeven, Hans. "Adamo ed Eva sui cofanetti d'avorio Bizantini." L'Arte 2 (1899). p. 312.

Graeven, Hans. "Typen der Wiener Genesis auf byzantinischen Elfenbeinreliefs." Jahrbuch der Kunsthistorischen Sammlungen des Allerhöchsten Kaiserhauses 21 (1900). p. 107.

Schlumberger, Gustave Léon. L'Épopée byzantine à la fin du Xe siècle: Part 2, Basile II le tueur de Bulgares. Librairie Hachette et Cie, 1900. pp. 280–81.

Dalton, O. M. Byzantine Art and Archeology. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1911. pp. 220–21.

Nye, Phila Calder. "The Oblong Caskets of the Byzantine Period." American Journal of Archaeology 23, no. 4 (October–December 1919). pp. 404, 407, 409–10, 412, fig. 9.

Breck, Joseph. "Pre-Gothic Ivories in the Pierpont Morgan Collection." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, o.s., 15, no. 1 (January 1920). p. 14.

Porter, Arthur Kingsley. Romanesque Sculpture of the Pilgrimage Roads. Vol. 1. Boston: Marshall Jones Company, 1923. p. 283.

Breck, Joseph, and Meyric R. Rogers. The Pierpont Morgan Wing: A Handbook. 1st ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1925. p. 47.

Milliken, William M. "A Byzantine Ivory Casket." The Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art 12, no. 1 (January 1925). p. 7.

Breck, Joseph, and Meyric R. Rogers. The Pierpont Morgan Wing: A Handbook. 2nd ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1929. p. 47.

Goldschmidt, Adolph, and Kurt Weitzmann. Die Byzantinischen Elfenbeinskulpturen des X.-XIII. Jahrhunderts. Vol. 1. Berlin: Bruno Cassirer, 1930. no. 92, pp. 13, 54, fig. 92, pl. LV.

Bergman, Robert P. The Salerno Ivories: Ars Sacra from Medieval Amalfi. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1980. p. 22.

Randall Jr., Richard H. Masterpieces of Ivory from the Walters Art Gallery. Walters Art Gallery, 1985. pp. 116, 130.

Quintavalle, Arturo Carlo, ed. Wiligelmo e Matilde: L'officina romanica. Mantova: Centro Internazionale d'Arte e di Cultura di Palazzo Te, 1991. no. 10b, pp. 353–54.

Evans, Helen C., and William D. Wixom, ed. The Glory of Byzantium: Art and Culture of the Middle Byzantine Era, A.D. 843–1261. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1997. no. 158B, pp. 234-6.

Connor, Carolyn L. The Color of Ivory: Polychromy on Byzantine Ivories. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1998. p. 84.

Eisenberg, Jerome M. "The New Byzantine Galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art." Minerva 12, no. 3 (2001). pp. 26-27, fig. 15.

Evans, Helen C., Melanie Holcomb, and Robert Hallman. "The Arts of Byzantium." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 58, no. 4 (Spring 2001). p. 52.

Papanikola-Bakirtzi, Demetra, ed. Everyday life in Byzantium. Athens: Hellenic Ministry of Culture, Directorate of Byzantine and Post Byzantine Monuments, 2002. pp. 54, 245, fig. 5.

Kalavrezou, Ioli. Byzantine Women and their World. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Art Museums, 2003. p. 148, ill.

Related Objects

Icon with the Crucifixion

Date: mid-10th century Medium: Ivory Accession: 17.190.44 On view in:Gallery 303

Icon with the Koimesis

Date: late 900s Medium: Ivory Accession: 17.190.132 On view in:Gallery 303

Panel of a Diptych Announcing the Consulship of Justinian

Date: 521 Medium: Ivory Accession: 17.190.53 On view in:Gallery 301

Panel of a Diptych Announcing the Consulship of Justinian

Date: 521 Medium: Ivory Accession: 17.190.52 On view in:Gallery 301

Plaque with Scenes from the Story of Joshua

Date: 900–1000 Medium: Ivory, traces of polychromy, gilding; bone (border strips) Accession: 17.190.137a-c On view in:Gallery 300