Byzantine; From the Djumati Monastery, Georgia (now Republic of Georgia); Made in Constantinople
Cloisonné enamel, gold; Diam. 3 1/4 in. (8.3 cm)
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917 (17.190.678)
This medallion with its Greek inscriptions identifying the image as Jesus Christ, is from a group of twelve that once surrounded an icon of the Archangel Gabriel. The medallions may have been sent as a gift from the Byzantine court to the neighboring Christian state of Georgia, and are among the finest surviving examples of cloisonné enamel. In this Byzantine technique, compartments, or cells, were outlined by thin sheets of gold or silver, filled with colored glass paste, and then fired at a high temperature, with the melting glass forming a solid surface. As in this medallion, the process often required several firings before the final polishing.