Head of a Crozier with a Serpent Devouring a Flower, Copper: formed, engraved, chased, scraped, stippled, and gilt; champlevé enamel: medium and light blue, light green, yellow, red, and white; glass cabochons, French

Head of a Crozier with a Serpent Devouring a Flower

Date:
ca. 1200–1220
Geography:
Made in Limoges, France
Culture:
French
Medium:
Copper: formed, engraved, chased, scraped, stippled, and gilt; champlevé enamel: medium and light blue, light green, yellow, red, and white; glass cabochons
Dimensions:
9 1/8 × 5 1/16 × 2 3/4 in. (23.1 × 12.8 × 7 cm)
Classification:
Enamels-Champlevé
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
17.190.833a, b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 304
As early as the sixth century, the pastoral staff, or crozier, conveyed the authority of a bishop, abbot, or abbess. The serpent and flower are frequently combined on enamel croziers from Limoges. They allude to the rod of Moses that, in the presence of Pharaoh, miraculously turned into a serpent at the command of God, and to the flowering rod of Aaron, symbol of his election to the priesthood by God.
Georges Hoentschel (French); Jacques Seligmann, Paris and New York; J. Pierpont Morgan (American), London and New York (until 1917)
Paris. Musée du Louvre. "L'Oeuvre de Limoges," October 23, 1995–January 22, 1996.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Enamels of Limoges, 1100-1350," January 22, 1996–June 16, 1996.

Breck, Joseph, and Meyric R. Rogers. The Pierpont Morgan Wing: A Handbook. 1st ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1925. p. 105.

Breck, Joseph, and Meyric R. Rogers. The Pierpont Morgan Wing: A Handbook. 2nd ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1929. p. 105.

Hayward, Jane. "Sacred Vestments as They Developed in the Middle Ages." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 29, no. 7 (March 1971). p. 308, fig. 17.

Gauthier, Marie-Madeleine. Émaux Méridionaux: Catalogue International de l'Oeuvre de Limoges; L'apogée 1190-1215. Corpus des émaux méridionaux, Vol. II. Paris: Éditions du centre national de la recherche scientifique, 1987 [2011]. no. IV A, no. 13, pp. 182-183.

Taburet-Delahaye, Elisabeth, and Barbara Drake Boehm, ed. L'Oeuvre de Limoges: Emaux limousins du Moyen Age. Paris: Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 1995. no. 82, p. 272.

Boehm, Barbara Drake, and Elisabeth Taburet-Delahaye, ed. Enamels of Limoges, 1100-1350. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1996. no. 81, p. 272.