Date: second quarter 13th century
Geography: Made in Limoges, France
Medium: Champlevé enamel, copper
Dimensions: Overall: 5 1/4 x 5 1/4 x 1/16 in. (13.4 x 13.4 x 0.2 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
Accession Number: 17.190.811
The medieval metalworker's craft was often closely allied to the draftsman's art, a relationship that was particularly strong in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. In this work, calligraphic metal surfaces float against colorful enameled backgrounds, much as drawing and painting interact in manuscripts. A sketch of a head on the reverse of this piece suggests that artists worked out compositions in a graphic mode before attempting completed designs.