One of a Pair of Temple Pendants, with Two Birds Flanking a Tree of Life (front) and Leaf and Rosette Motifs (back)
Made in Kiev
Cloisonné enamel, gold
Overall: 2 1/8 x 1 7/8 x 1/2 in. (5.4 x 4.8 x 1.2 cm)
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 300
When Kievan Rus, a powerful new state to the north of the Byzantine Empire, accepted Christianity as its official religion in 988, the aristocracy also adopted the manners and dress of the Byzantine court. Local artists soon produced their own versions of Constatinopolitan fashions. This temple pendant of precious metals worked in cloisonné enamel or niello are local variants of the more intricately detailed works made for the Byzantine court.
As in Byzantium, temple pendants may have been worn next to the face by both the men and the women of Rus. The works shown here were perhaps buried by their owners when the Mongol armies under Batu Khan sacked Kiev in 1240.
Alex W. von Zvenigorodskii (1837–1903); J. Pierpont Morgan, London and New York (until 1917)
Dalton, O. M. "Byzantine Enamels in Mr. Pierpont Morgan's Collection." The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs 21, no. 110 (May 1912). pp. 66, 69, pl. IV.
Zaloziecky, Wladimir. "Das byzantinische Kunstgewerbe in der mittelalterlichen und spätmittelalterlichen Periode." In Geschichte des Kunstgewerbes aller Zeiten und Völker, edited by Helmuth Theodor Bossert. Vol. 5. Berlin: E. Wasmuth, 1932. p. 147.
Brown, Katharine Reynolds. "Russo-Byzantine Jewellery in the Metropolitan Museum of Art." Apollo 111 (January 1980). pp. 6-9, fig. 1, 2.
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. 212F, pp. 309-11.
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. 56.