Africa and Byzantium publication record cover

Africa and Byzantium

Andrea Myers Achi
2023
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Medieval art history has long emphasized the glories of the Byzantine Empire, but less known are the profound artistic contributions of Nubia, Egypt, Ethiopia, and other powerful African kingdoms whose pivotal interactions with Byzantium had an indelible impact on the medieval Mediterranean world. Bringing together more than 170 masterworks in a range of media and techniques—from mosaic, sculpture, pottery, and metalwork to luxury objects, panel paintings, and religious manuscripts—Africa and Byzantium recounts Africa’s centrality in transcontinental networks of trade and cultural exchange. With incisive scholarship and new photography of works rarely or never before seen in public, this long-overdue publication sheds new light on the staggering artistic achievements of late antique Africa. It reconsiders northern and eastern Africa’s contributions to the development of the premodern world and offers a more complete history of the region as a vibrant, multiethnic society of diverse languages and faiths that played a crucial role in the artistic, economic, and cultural life of Byzantium and beyond.

Met Art in Publication

The Goddess Isis and her Son Horus, Faience
332–30 B.C.
Pectoral with Coins and Pseudo-Medallion, Gold, niello, Byzantine
ca. 539–50
Folio from the "Blue Qur'an", Gold and silver on indigo-dyed parchment
second half 9th–mid-10th century
Shroud of a Woman Wearing a Fringed Tunic, Linen, paint (tempera)
A.D. 170–200
Papyrus Fragments with Seth on Mount Sinai, Papyrus with ink, Coptic
5th–6th century
Ostrakon with an Invocation or Charm, Pottery fragment with ink inscription, Coptic (Egypt)
580–640
Amulet Carved in Intaglio (Incised), Hematite, silver mount, Byzantine (Egypt)
6th–7th century
Painting of Holy Men, Linen, paint, Byzantine (Egypt)
5th–6th century
Ampulla (Flask) of Saint Menas, Earthenware; molded
late 6th century–mid 8th century
Ampulla (Flask) of Saint Menas, Earthenware, molded, Byzantine (Egypt)
ca. 610–50
Capital with Acanthus Leaves, Limestone; carved in relief
6th–7th century
Capital with Acanthus Leaves, Limestone; carved in relief
6th century
Capital, Limestone; carved in relief
6th–7th century
Capital, Limestone; carved in relief
6th–7th century
Capital with Putti Holding Wreaths and with Acanthus Leaves, Limestone; carved in relief
second half 4th century
Rock Crystal Dish in the Form of a Temple, Rock crystal, North African (Carthage)
3rd–5th century
Rock Crystal Statuette of a Dolphin, Rock crystal, North African (Carthage)
3rd–5th century
Fragment of a Rock Crystal Bowl, Rock crystal, North African (Carthage)
3rd–5th century
Rock Crystal Bowl, Rock crystal, North African (Carthage)
3rd–5th century
Rock crystal Statuette of a Lion, Rock crystal, North African (Carthage)
3rd–4th century
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Citation

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Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York N.Y.) and Cleveland Museum of Art. 2023. Africa and Byzantium. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art.