Spanish; From the Convent of Santa Cruz de la Serós, Jaca
Gilded silver on a wood backing, inset with ivory icon, sapphire, glass, and crystal
10 1/2 x 7 1/2 in. (26 x 19.1 cm)
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917 (17.190.134)
Byzantine ivories were highly prized in the West, where most survived in church treasuries or were incorporated into deluxe bookbindings. The ivory from this plaque originally formed the center of a Byzantine three-paneled icon, and its inclusion in a setting with filigree, precious stone, and glass simulating precious stone indicates the special homage accorded these Eastern works of art. This plaque is one of a pair that served as book covers. They were likely one of the many gifts to the Benedictine nunnery of Santa Cruz de los Serós from its reputed founder, Queen Felicia, wife of Sancho V Ramírez (r. 106394), king of Aragon and Navarre. Her name, in fact, appears on the other cover.