Byzantine; Probably made in Constantinople
Ivory; 6 1/8 x 5 1/8 in. (15.6 x 13 cm)
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917 (17.190.133)
In the Deesis, Christ appears in glory between the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist. Traditionally the first witnesses to Christ's divinity, the Virgin and Saint John came to be seen as intercessors with Christ on behalf of humanity. This plaque was probably the central panel of a triptych, a deluxe portable icon for personal devotion. Later, in western Europe, the panel may have been used as a cover for a gospel book.