Byzantine; Made in Constantinople
Inscribed in abbreviated Greek: Mother of God
Cloisonné enamel, gold
Halo fragments: 5 1/4 x 1 1/2 in. (13.3 x 3.8 cm), 5 1/4 x 1 7/8 in. (13.3 x 4.8 cm); Background fragments: 2 1/4 x 4 1/4 in. (5.8 x 10.8 cm), 4 x 4 1/2 in. (10.2 x 11.4 cm), 5 x 3 3/8 in. (12.7 x 8.6 cm)
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917 (17.190.644-.648)
These revetments were once part of a cover for an icon of the Virgin Hagiosoritissa, or "Virgin of the Holy Soros (Reliquary Chest)." Named for the church in Constantinople in which the original icon was kept, this popular icon type displays the Virgin turning to the side with her hands raised in a gesture of supplication. The original icon would have included small semicircle at the upper left that displayed a small image of Christ in heaven to whom her prayers were directed. The central fragments formed part of the Virgin's halo, and the cut-out at the bottom left shows the contours of the Virgin's raised hands.