Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Pectoral with Coins and Pseudo-Medallion

ca. 539–50
Gold, niello
Overall: 9 7/16 x 8 5/8 x 5/8 in. (23.9 x 21.9 x 1.6 cm) ring: 19 11/16 x 3/8 in. (50 x 1 cm) Medallion: 2 3/4 x 6 11/16 x 3/8 in. (7 x 17 x 1 cm) weight: 11.9oz. (338g)
Credit Line:
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 302
Neck rings, such as this imposing gold example, are cited in early sources as playing a role both in the glorification of military heroes and in coronation ceremonies. This pectoral necklace is composed of a plain, hollow neck ring attached to a frame set with a large central medallion flanked by coins and two small decorative disks. Although it was found in Egypt, the pectoral is believed to have been made in Constantinople, since a personification of that city is depicted on the reverse of the central medallion. The front of the medallion and the smaller coins depict Byzantine emperors. The two ribbed rings at the pectoral's lower edge once held a large medallion of the emperor Theodosius I. This imperial imagery suggests that the pectoral is composed of a collection of military trophies that once belonged to a distinguished general or a member of the imperial court.
[ Maurice Nahman, Cairo (1909-1912)]; J. Pierpont Morgan, London and New York (1912-1913)
Dennison, Walter. A Gold Treasure of the Late Roman Period from Egypt. Studies in East Christian and Roman Art, Vol. 2. London and New York: University of Michigan Studies-Humanistic Series, 1918. no. 1, pp. 109–17, fig. I, VI–VII.

Breck, Joseph, and Meyric R. Rogers. The Pierpont Morgan Wing: A Handbook. 2nd ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1929. p. 40.

Tyler, Royall, and Hayford Peirce. L'art Byzantin. Vol. 2. Paris: Librarie de France, 1934. pp. 138–39.

Brown, Katharine Reynolds. "Documents in Gold." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 28, no. 6 (February 1970). no. 13, p. 237, fig. 13.

Gómez-Moreno, Carmen. "Gold." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 31, no. 2 (1972–1973). pp. 100-101.

Weitzmann, Kurt, ed. Age of Spirituality: Late Antique and Early Christian Art, Third to Seventh Century. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1979. no. 295, pp. 318-319.

Howard, Kathleen, ed. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1983. no. 11, p. 342.

Husband, Timothy B., and Charles T. Little. Europe in the Middle Ages. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987. no. 23, p. 34.

Musée du Louvre. Byzance: l'Art Byzantin dans les Collections Publiques Françaises, edited by Marie-Claude Bianchini. Paris: Bibliothèque nationale de France, 1992. fig. 112.

Howard, Kathleen, ed. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide. 2nd ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1994. no. 11, p. 376.

Rodley, Lyn. Byzantine Art and Architecture: An Introduction. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994. p. 101, fig. 76.

Brown, Katharine R., Dafydd Kidd, and Charles T. Little, ed. From Attila to Charlemagne: Arts of the Early Medieval Period in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York and New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000. p. 74, 341, fig. 7.18, 7.19.

Eisenberg, Jerome M. "The New Byzantine Galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art." Minerva 12, no. 3 (2001). p. 26, fig. 11.

Evans, Helen C., Melanie Holcomb, and Robert Hallman. "The Arts of Byzantium." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 58, no. 4 (Spring 2001). p. 19.

Wamser, Ludwig. Die Welt von Byzanz : Europas östliches Erbe : Glanz, Krisen und Fortleben einer tausendjährigen Kultur. Stuttgart: Archäologische Staatssammlung - Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte, 2004. no. 485, pp. 290-291.

Evans, Helen C., and Brandie Ratliff, ed. Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition, 7th–9th century. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. p. 125, fig. 53.

Spier, Jeffrey. Byzantium and the West: Jewelry in the First Millenium. Paris, Chicago and New York: Les Enluminures, 2012. pp. 29–30.

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