Exhibitions/ Art Object

Token with Stylite, Baptism of Christ, and Adoration of the Magi

6th-7th century
Made in Syria (?)
1/4 x 1 in. (0.7 x 2.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Malcove Collection, University of Toronto Art Centre, Toronto (M82.242)
Not on view
Stylites were ascetics who lived on platforms atop columns. This movement had practitioners into the nineteenth century, from Mosul in today’s northern Iraq to Gaul in France. Syria was home to large numbers of stylites, including the first stylite, Symeon Stylites the Elder (ca. 389–459).
Pilgrims visiting a stylite’s column carried home a memento, often a clay token. Most examples depict a stylite on a column being crowned by angels. Here, the Baptism of Christ (left) and the Adoration of the Magi (right) are included. The token is inscribed in Greek, "Holy, Holy."
Inscription: [in Greek, left:] Holy; [right:] Holy
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition (7th–9th Century)," March 12, 2012–July 8, 2012.