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Lot 23A: Rare Byzantine Bronze Reliquary - Stepped on by Horse
27 October 2016
Louisville, CO, USALive Auction
Byzantine Empire, Medieval Period, ca. 12th to 14th century CE. A reliquary cross, an enkolpion: two pieces with a hinge at the top, capped by a cross and a thin ring for suspension. The body of the cross is simple and without ornament; the figure of Christ is projected forward from the cross. From a Metropolitan Museum of Art catalogue describing a similar piece, "Cross shaped enkolpia were widely produced during the Middle Byzantine Period, reflecting the popularity of these amuletic objects for the contemporary Byzantine. Combining the protective power of the sign of the Cross and the relics they were made to contain, these reliquary crosses continued and enhanced the Christian veneration for the sign of the Cross, a tradition well developed since the fourth century." Size: 3.3" L x 1.6" W (8.4 cm x 4.1 cm)
c.f., The Glory of Byzantium, The Metropolitan Museum of Arts, New York - 1997 Exhibition Catalog
Provenance: Ex-Private LA County collection
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Condition Report: Minor loss to reverse panel, deformed from being stepped on by a horse. Slight losses to front attachments, as shown.