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Casket with Warriors and Dancers

Date:
11th century
Geography:
Made in Constantinople
Culture:
Byzantine
Medium:
Ivory and bone; gilded copper mounts
Dimensions:
8 x 11 3/8 x 7 1/2 in. (20.3 x 28.9 x 19.1 cm)
Classification:
Ivories
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
17.190.239
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 300
"If perchance you wish to exempt certain pagans from punishment, my Christ,/ May you spare for my sake Plato and Plutarch,/ For both were very close to your laws in both teaching and way of life./ Even if they were unaware that you as God reign over all,/ In this matter only your charity is needed,/ Through which you are willing to save all me while asking nothing in return."
—John Mauropous (ca. 1000–1081)

Classical literature and classical images were preserved throughout the Byzantine period. The erotes who dance and wage mock battles on the sides of this casket and tame a female panther on the lid recall imagery associated with the ancient pagan cult of the god Dionysos.
Georges Hoentschel (French, Paris 1855–1915 Paris); J. Pierpont Morgan, London and New York (until 1917)
Nye, Phila Calder. "The Oblong Caskets of the Byzantine Period." American Journal of Archaeology 23, no. 4 (October–December 1919). pp. 404, 407–8, fig. 6.

Breck, Joseph, and Meyric R. Rogers. The Pierpont Morgan Wing: A Handbook. 1st ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1925. p. 22, fig. 23, ill. p. 46.

Harrington, John Walker. "Antique Caskets and Coffers." International Studio 86 (April 1927). p. 43, ill.

Breck, Joseph, and Meyric R. Rogers. The Pierpont Morgan Wing: A Handbook. 2nd ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1929. p. 22, fig. 23, ill. p. 46.

Goldschmidt, Adolph, and Kurt Weitzmann. Die Byzantinischen Elfenbeinskulpturen des X.-XIII. Jahrhunderts. Vol. 1. Berlin: Bruno Cassirer, 1930. no. 49a-e, pp. 17, 42, fig. 49a-e, pl. XXIX–XXX.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Guide to the Collections: Medieval Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1962. fig. 14.

Hoffmann, Konrad, ed. The Year 1200: A Centennial Exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 1. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1970. no. 77, pp. 69-70.

Cutler, Anthony. "On Byzantine Boxes." The Journal of the Walters Art Gallery 42/43 (1984–85). pp. 41, 44–46, fig. 17, 21.

Herman, Kerry B. "Exemplum Virtutis: The Noble Heroes and Heroines of the Middle Ages." In Survival of the Gods: Classical Mythology in Medieval Art. Providence, R.I.: Brown University, 1987. pp. 21–22, fig. 15.

Connor, Carolyn L. "New Perspectives on Byzantine Ivories." Gesta 30, no. 2 (1991). pp. 102-03, fig. 5.

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. 156, p. 233.

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

Cutler, Anthony. "On Byzantine Boxes." In Late Antique and Byzantine Ivory Carving. Variorum Collected Studies Series. Aldershot: Ashgate, 1998. pp. 41, 45, fig. 17, 21, [reprint of Cutler 1984–85].

Hanson, John. "The Stuttgart Casket and the Permeability of the Byzantine Artistic Tradition." Gesta 37, no. 1 (1998). pp. 13, 16, fig. 7.

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. 53.

Papanikola-Bakirtzi, Demetra, ed. Everyday life in Byzantium. Athens: Hellenic Ministry of Culture, Directorate of Byzantine and Post Byzantine Monuments, 2002. no. 628, pp. 459–60.



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