Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Fragment of a Plaque with a Standing Woman

4th century
Made in Byzantine Egypt
Overall: 2 7/16 x 1 1/4 x 1/16 in. (6.2 x 3.1 x 0.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. William Middendorf II, 1980
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 302
Colored wax originally filled the zones between the areas carved in relief. The relief would then clearly have shown a richly dressed woman holding a tray on which may rest a pair of gold bracelets. The figure may be a serving girl or Chresis, who personified the good use of acquired wealth.

Bone plaques were used to decorate couches, chests, and other furniture. Some were carved in relief; others were carved in intaglio with the incised designs often filled with colored wax. Both styles could be used on the same object. The designs frequently represent Dionysiac themes.
Museo Kircheriano, Vatican City; The Connoisseur, Inc., New York; Ernest Brummer, New York; J. William Middendorf II, New York (until 1980)
The Ernest Brummer Collection. Vol. 1. Zurich: Galerie Koller, October 16–19, 1979. no. 2, pp. 16–17.

Wixom, William D., ed. Mirror of the Medieval World. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1999. no. 31, p. 28.

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