Byzantine / Pendant Plaque / 4th?5th centuryByzantine
Pendant Plaque
4th?5th century

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Anatolian; Byzantine
Creator Name-CRT: Byzantine
Title: Pendant Plaque
View: Principal view
Creation Start Date: 300
Creation End Date: 499
Creation Date: 4th?5th century
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Materials and Techniques: Lapis lazuli
Dimensions: 2 3/8 x 1 15/16 x 3/16 in. (6.1 x 4.9 x .5 cm)

This Byzantine pendant, with a suspension ring carved as part of the plaque itself, was probably made in Egypt in the fourth or fifth century. It combines four different Christian symbols and was likely worn as a protective amulet.

From top to bottom, the carvings include the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, alpha and omega, used to symbolize God's everlasting power, and the chi rho, the first two letters of Christ's name in Greek, a symbol that we are told the Roman emperor Constantine the Great?the first emperor to convert to Christianity?saw in a vision. The chi rho broadens out to form an anchor, a popular symbol of the salvation offered by Christ. The dolphins that swim toward the anchor also have Christian significance: the Greek word ichthys (fish) could also be used as an acrostic for the Greek phrase "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior."

AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York
ID Number: 1984.32
Credit Line: Purchase, Rogers Fund, Mr. and Mrs. Maxime L. Hermanos, and Anonymous Gifts, 1984
Copyright: Copyright ? 2002 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All rights reserved.
AMICA ID: MMA_.1984.32
AMICA Library Year: 2002
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright (c) 2002 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All Rights Reserved

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