Icon with Christ Pantokrator

Date: ca. 1350 or later

Geography: Made in probably Greece

Culture: Byzantine

Medium: Steatite, green

Dimensions: Overall: 2 5/8 x 2 5/8 x 3/4 in. (6.7 x 6.7 x 1.9 cm)

Classification: Steatites

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1979

Accession Number: 1979.217

Description

The icon carries a Greek inscription identifying Christ as Antiphonetes, "the guarantor." A famous icon of Christ was so named because, according to a miracle story, it had been held as loan collateral by a creditor. The Byzantine empress Zoë (r. 1028–50) had coins struck with the Antiphonetes image and kept an icon of the type close at hand. "I myself have often seen her, in moments of great distress, clasp the sacred object in her hands, contemplate it, talk to it as if it were indeed alive, and address it with one sweet term of endearment after another," wrote court historian Michael Psellos (1018–ca. 1081).

Related