Byzantine Bronze Plaque Depicting a Saint

SKU X.0155
Circa

6 th Century AD to 7 th Century AD

Dimensions

2″ (5.1cm) high x 1.5″ (3.8cm) wide

Medium

Bronze

Origin

Eastern Mediterranean

Gallery Location

UK


 

The shape and size of this bronze plaque, as well as the presence of nail holes in the corners, suggest that it would have once adorned the side of a reliquary box or the front cover of a book. The image of a saint crowned with a nimbus halo and holding a cross in his right hand has been gently hammered onto the surface of the plaque in a technique known as repoussé. The Greek letters, “H” and “AK” have been inscribed on either side of his head. Other similar plaques inscribed with prayers were thought to have been votive offerings that were nailed onto columns or inside niches of chapels. There, they would continue to symbolize the physical manifestation of the prayer. However, considering the diminutive size of this plaque, it is far more likely that it would have once decorated a book or box. This bronze plaque depicting a saint is a remnant from the Byzantine era, when Christianity fully blossomed in Europe. Here, ancient techniques of metalworking are combined with Christian iconography, producing a work that is both decorative and spiritual. – (X.0155)

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