Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Liturgical Comb

late 11th–early 12th century
Overall: 3 3/4 x 4 1/2 x 11/16 in. (9.5 x 11.4 x 1.7 cm)
Credit Line:
The Cloisters Collection, 1966
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Cloisters in Gallery 14
Decorated double-sided combs were generally used for the ritual preparation of the priest before the celebration of the Mass, but they could have a secular function as well. In some cases they entered church treasuries as relics of saints. The vigorous design of two youths mounted on confronting griffinlike beasts derives from Eastern motifs. Southern Italy had many political, cultural, and artistic contacts with Byzantium and the Islamic world.
Victor Martin Le Roy, Paris ; Alphonse Kann, Paris (until 1940) ; seized by the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg(in October 1940) [ERR inv. no. Ka 157] ; held at Munich Collecting Point[MCCP inv. no. 15/25]; returned to France (July 31, 1946) ; restituted by the Commission de Récupération Artistique to Alphonse Kann, London (July 11, 1947) ; [ Blumka Gallery, New York (sold 1966)]
Exposition internationale d'art byzantin. Paris: Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Pavillon de Marsan, 1931. no. 105, p. 78.

Lasko, Peter. "The Comb of St. Cuthbert." In The Relics of St. Cuthbert, edited by C. F. Battiscombe. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1956. no. 4, p. 351, pl. XXI.

Swoboda, Franz. "Die liturgischen Kämme." PhD diss., Eberhard-Karls-Universität, 1963. no. 41, pp. 120–22.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Ninety-Seventh Annual Report of the Trustees of The Metropolitan Museum of Art for the Fiscal Year 1966-1967." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 26, no. 2 (October 1967). pp. 85–86.

D'Onofrio, Mario, ed. I Normanni: Popolo d'Europa 1030–1200. Venice: Palazzo Venezia, 1994. no. 323, p. 515.

Lasko, Peter. Studies on Metalwork, Ivories and Stone. London: Pindar Press, 1994. pp. 13, 16, fig. 3, 4, [reprint of Lasko 1956].

Galan y Galindo, Angel. Marfiles Medievales del Islam: Volume 2, Catálogo de Piezas. Cordoba: Publicaciones Obra Social Y Cultural Cajasur, 2005. no. 41037, pp. 446, 520.

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