The bejeweled woman, holding the measuring tool for the Roman foot, is identified by the restored Greek inscription as Ktisis, a figure personifying the act of generous donation or foundation. The man with a cornucopia, originally one of a pair flanking her, has the Greek inscription “good” by his head, half of a text that probably said, “good wishes.” The fragment, made of marble and glass tesserae (small pieces of colored material), is typical of the exceptional mosaics created throughout the Byzantine world in the 500s. The Metropolitan Museum, after acquiring the two figures independently, has restored them in accordance with a dealer’s photograph showing their original arrangement while in storage before separation.
Private Collection, Switzerland (1988) [1998.69]; [ Ward & Company Works of Art, New York (from 1997–sold 1998)] [1998.69]; Private Collection, Switzerland (from 1970s–1999) [1999.99]
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Soultanian, Jack, and Marika Strohschnieder. "Rejoining Two Sixth Century Byzantine Mosaics." Met Objectives: Treatment and Research Notes 2, no. 1 (Fall 2000).
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Barnet, Peter. "Medieval Europe." In Philippe de Montebello and The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1977–2008, edited by James R. Houghton. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2009. p. 25.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2012. p. 181.