Ivories of the So-Called Grado Chair: Prophet with a Plaque
late 7th or 8th century
Made in Eastern Mediterranean or Egypt
Overall: 3 9/16 x 3 1/8 x 5/16 in. (9 x 8 x 0.8 cm)
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. Against an elaborate cityscape, an unidentified prophet points to heaven, the source of his inspiration. His bare feet and pose are reminiscent of images of Moses receiving the Commandments.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition (7th–9th Century)," March 12, 2012–July 8, 2012.