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Creator Nationality: Asian; Anatolian; Byzantine
Creator Dates/Places: Probably made in Constantinople
Creator Name-CRT: Byzantine
Title: Icon with the Koimesis ("Falling Asleep") of the Virgin Mary
View: Principal view
Creation Start Date: 966
Creation End Date: 999
Creation Date: late 10th century
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Materials and Techniques: ivory
Dimensions: 7 1/4 x 5 3/4 in. (18.4 x 14.6 cm)
Inscriptions: Inscribed in Greek: The Koimesis
Description: The Koimesis, or "falling asleep in death," of the Virgin is first found in Byzantine art in the 900s. This image would become one of the most popular icons in the Middle and Late Byzantine world, often appearing over the doors of churches to be contemplated by the faithful as they left the service. In painted icons and in ivory ones like this example, the Virgin is shown lying on a bier, or pallet, for the dead. Christ stands behind her holding up her soul, as if it were a baby, offering it to attendant angels to take to heaven. The apostles stand witness, led by Saint Paul at her feet and Saint Peter behind her head. The holes on the ivory suggest that it may have been used as decoration on a book cover, probably in the Latin West, where Byzantine ivories were prized for such purposes.
AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York
ID Number: 17.190.132
Credit Line: Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Copyright: Copyright ? 2002 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All rights reserved.
AMICA ID: MMA_.17.190.132
AMICA Library Year: 2002
Media Metadata Rights:
Copyright (c) 2002 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All Rights Reserved
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