The Christ Child seated in a frontal pose on the Virgin's lap is a sculptural type known as the Throne of Wisdom, or Sedes Sapientiae (see also at The Cloisters 47.101.15 and in Medieval Art 16.32.194). This seemingly straightforward arrangement actually conveys complex theological ideas, specifically the medieval tenet that Christ, like his ancestors King David and King Solomon, embodied wisdom and justice. Mary thus serves as this "throne," and Christ holds an open book emblematic of his divine wisdom. Sculptures like this one frequently functioned as reliquaries; in fact, X-radiography has revealed the presence of a small sealed cavity under Mary's left shoulder that appears to contain a relic.Recent treatment and study in the Museum's conservation laboratory have enabled us to reconstruct the original painted decoration of the sculpture. The Virgin's mantle was once dark blue (lapis lazuli darkened by a gray underlayer) and was further embellished with small lozenge-shaped elements of tin leaf that were intended to appear as gold. Beneath her blue mantle the Virgin wore a red robe. That same red, also decorated with tin leaf, is found on the Child's himation (the overgarment that falls over his shoulder), while his tunic (now light green) was originally a darker green with red lining. Both throne and base were painted in imitation of colored marbles and precious stones.