Exhibitions/ Art Object

Girdle with Coins and Medallions

ca. 583, reassembled after discovery
Settings: gold - sheet: wire - beaded. Coins: gold - stamped.
Overall: 26 9/16 x 2 3/16 x 1/4 in. (67.5 x 5.5 x 0.6 cm) Wt: 348g diameter of 9 small medallions: 1 x 1/8 in. (2.5 x 0.3 cm) diameter of 4 medium size medallions: 1 3/16 x 3/16 in. (3 x 0.5 cm) diameter of 4 large medallions: 2 3/16 x 1/4 in. (5.5 x 0.6 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917; Purchase, Morgan Guaranty Trust Company of New York, Stephen K. Scher and Mrs. Maxime L. Hermanos Gifts, Rogers Fund, and funds from various donors, 1991
Accession Number:
17.190.147; 1991.136
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 301
This incomplete, massive gold girdle composed of a series of solidi (gold coins) and medallions may have been worn as an insignia of office. The four medallions depicting the emperor Maurice Tiberius (r. 582–602) probably were minted for him to present as gifts to high officials and nobles when he assumed the office of consul in 583. All the coins are stamped CONOB (Constantinopolis obryzum, i.e., pure gold of Constantinople), indicating that they were minted in the capital city. Joined with nine coins of Maurice Tiberius on the girdle is one of Theodosius II (r. 402–50) and four of the brief joint rule of Justin I and Justinian in 527.
Found at Karavas, near Kyrenia, Cyprus, 1902; [ Amedeo Canessa, Paris (sold 1911) [17.190.147]]; J. Pierpont Morgan, London and New York (from 1911) [17.190.147]; Estate of J. Pierpont Morgan(until 1917) [17.190.147]; European Art Market(1991) [1991.136]; [ Ward & Company Works of Art, New York (sold 1991)] [1991.136]
Sambon, Arthur. "Trésor d'orfèvrerie et d'argenterie trouvé à Chypre et faisant partie de la Collection de M. J. Pierpont. Morgan." Le Musée, revue d'art mensuelle 3 (4) (April 1906). pp. 121-129, pl. XXI (partly illustrated).

Dalton, O. M. Byzantine Art and Archeology. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1911. pp. 534-549, fig. 317.

Smith, Cecil H. Sir, and Librairie Centrale des Beaux-arts. Collection of J. Pierpont Morgan: Bronzes, antique Greek and Roman, including some antique objects in gold and silver. Paris, 1913. pp. 42-43, fig. LXII.

Dennison, Walter. A Gold Treasure of the Late Roman Period from Egypt. Studies in East Christian and Roman Art, Vol. 2. London and New York: University of Michigan Studies-Humanistic Series, 1918. p. 140, fig. XXV.

Miner, Dorothy, ed. Early Christian and Byzantine Art: An Exhibition Held at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Baltimore: Walters Art Museum, 1947. no. 422, p. 92, pl. LIX.

Grierson, Philip. "The Kyrenia Girdle of Byzantine Medallions and Solidi." Numismatic Chronicle 15 (1955). pp. 55-70.

Ross, Marvin C. "A Byzantine Gold Medallion at Dumbarton Oaks." Dumbarton Oaks Papers 11 (1957). pp. 247-261.

Grierson, Philip. "The Date of the Dumbarton Oaks Epiphany." Dumbarton Oaks Papers 15 (1961). pp. 221-224.

Brown, Katharine Reynolds. "Documents in Gold." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 28, no. 6 (February 1970). no. 7, p. 234, fig. 7.

Weitzmann, Kurt. "The Late Roman World." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 35, no. 2 (Autumn 1977). no. 10, pp. 16-17, fig. 10.

Weitzmann, Kurt, ed. Age of Spirituality: Late Antique and Early Christian Art, Third to Seventh Century. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1979. no. 61, pp. 71-72.

Wixom, William D., ed. Mirror of the Medieval World. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1999. no. 39, p. 33.

Brown, Katharine R., Dafydd Kidd, and Charles T. Little, ed. From Attila to Charlemagne: Arts of the Early Medieval Period in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York and New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000. p. 120, 340, fig. 11.1.

Evans, Helen C., Melanie Holcomb, and Robert Hallman. "The Arts of Byzantium." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 58, no. 4 (Spring 2001). p. 37.

McClanan, Anne. Representations of Early Byzantine Empresses: Image and Empire. The New Middle Ages. New York, 2002. pp. 176-178, fig. 7.9.

Frings, Jutta, ed. Byzanz: Pracht und Alltag. Bonn: Kunst-und Austellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, 2010. no. 15, p. 138.

Durand, Jannic, and Dorota Giovannoni, ed. Chypre: entre Byzance et l'Occident, IVe–XVIe siècle. Paris: Musée du Louvre Éditions, 2012. p. 65, fig. 12.

Spier, Jeffrey. Byzantium and the West: Jewelry in the First Millenium. Paris, Chicago and New York: Les Enluminures, 2012. p. 30.

Humphrey, Lyle. "Collecting Christianity on the Nile: J. Pierpont Morgan and The Metropolitan Museum of Art." In Age of Transition: Byzantine Culture in the Islamic World, edited by Helen C. Evans. New York: Yale University Press, 2015. pp. 3-4, fig. 3.

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