Exhibitions/ Art Object

Ivories of the So-Called Grado Chair: Saint Menas with Flanking Camels

7th–8th century
Made in Eastern Mediterranean or Egypt
4 x 3 1/4 x 1/4 in. (10.2 x 8.2 x 0.6 cm)
Credit Line:
Civiche Raccolte d’Arte Applicata—Castello Sforzesco, Milan (avori n. 1)
Not on view
The original use and arrangement of these fourteen ivories of the So-called Grado Chair with scenes from the life of Christ, depictions of saints, and of Saint Mark as first bishop of Alexandria remain uncertain. They may have been part of a liturgical throne given by Emperor Heraclius (r. 610–41) to Grado, Italy, after his successful re-conquest of Egypt.
Inscribed in Greek "Saint Menas," this ivory shows the Egyptian saint with the camels that carried him after his death. The hanging lamps at his side are similar to Islamic mosque lamps.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition (7th–9th Century)," March 12, 2012–July 8, 2012.