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Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Good Shepherd

17th–18th century
Ivory, with traces of gilt and color
Height: 8 7/8 in. (22.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
Not on view
This intriguing composition portraying the Christ Child as a shepherd dozing on a mountaintop is known in numerous examples, all believed to originate in the regions of India colonized by Portugal. A tree once stood behind the Child. The distinctive iconography has led some to see links to ancient Avestan beliefs or the traditional image of the Buddha. Most carvings of the theme feature a "Fountain of Life" beneath His feet and the Magdalen reclining in a niche at the base.
J. Pierpont Morgan (until 1917; to MMA)
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