Byzantine / Tip of a Pointer / Late 11th-early 12th centuryByzantine
Tip of a Pointer
Late 11th-early 12th century

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Anatolian; Byzantine
Creator Name-CRT: Byzantine
Title: Tip of a Pointer
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1066
Creation End Date: 1133
Creation Date: Late 11th-early 12th century
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Enamels
Materials and Techniques: Cloisonné enamel, gold
Dimensions: H. 1 in. (2.5 cm)
AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1997.235
Credit Line: Purchase, Louis V. Bell Fund and Henry G. Keasbey Bequest, 1997

This delicately wrought and finely detailed tip of a pointer, or, less likely, a scepter, is one of the outstanding examples of cloisonné enameling produced during the Middle Byzantine era. Intimate in scale, it is entirely covered in elaborate foliate and geometric designs predominately worked in white, red, and translucent blue enamels. Ladderlike strips of cloisons in translucent green enamel separate the decorative patterns on the sides and hide the angles of the hexagonal form. The top is a flat dome; the base is finished with alternating lobes and semicircles. The enameled patterns are similar to designs found in Byzantine manuscript illuminations of the period. This tiny masterpiece was probably the end of a long pointer used to assist the speaker during the public reading of a manuscript.

The refinement of the decoration and the outstanding craftsmanship suggest that this is one of a small group of works associated with the imperial capital of Constantinople and possibly made for the royal court.

AMICA ID: MMA_.1997.235
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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