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Belt Ornament

Date:
4th century
Geography:
Made in Rome (possibly)
Culture:
Roman or Byzantine
Medium:
Copper alloy, gilt
Dimensions:
Overall: 1 15/16 x 1 9/16 x 3/16 in. (4.9 x 4 x 0.5 cm)
Classification:
Metalwork-Bronze
Credit Line:
Purchase, Rogers Fund and Alastair B. Martin Gift, 1993
Accession Number:
1993.166
  • Description

    A couple stands in the traditional Roman marriage pose under a Christogram on the front of this ornament; Bellerophon on the winged horse Pegasus triumphs over the mythical Chimera on the back. Classical traditions were combined with the new faith as Christianity became the dominant religion in the Empire.

    As Christianity became the dominant religion in Byzantine society, Christian imagery was increasingly found on jewelry. Crosses appear by the fifth century; the Virgin Mary, saints, angels, and other holy figures became popular in the sixth century. The images were thought to protect the wearer, aid in prayers, and even perform miracles.

  • Provenance

    [ Ward & Company Works of Art, New York (sold 1993)]

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
466253

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