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The Attarouthi Treasure - Silver Dove

Date:
late 6th–early 7th century
Geography:
Made in Attarouthi, Syria
Culture:
Byzantine
Medium:
Silver
Dimensions:
Overall (with wings): 3 5/8 x 6 1/4 x 2 11/16 in. (9.2 x 15.8 x 6.8 cm) Overall (Body only): 2 7/16 x 2 7/16 x 6 1/4 in. (6.2 x 6.2 x 15.8 cm)
Classification:
Metalwork-Silver
Credit Line:
Purchase, Rogers Fund and Henry J. and Drue E. Heinz Foundation, Norbert Schimmel, and Lila Acheson Wallace Gifts, 1986
Accession Number:
1986.3.15
  • Description

    The dove, with wings spread and feet tucked up as if in flight, represents the Holy Spirit that appeared over the head of Christ as he was baptized by Saint John the Forerunner (John 1:32). Early authors mention the presence of doves over altars in churches from Constantinople to Tours in France. This is the earliest known example of the type. Originally a small cross hung from the loop in its beak.

  • Provenance

    Church in Attarouthi, Syria; [ Elias Bustros, Beirut (by 1940)]; [ Sleiman Abou Taam, Beirut and Switzerland (1965–1986)]

466135

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