Medallion with Christ from an Icon Frame

Date: ca. 1100

Geography: Made in Constantinople

Culture: Byzantine

Medium: Gold, silver, and enamel worked in cloisonné

Dimensions: Diam: 3 1/4 in. (8.3 cm)
Mount: 20 1/2 x 15 x 7/8 in. (52.1 x 38.1 x 2.2 cm)

Classification: Enamels-Cloisonné

Credit Line: Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917

Accession Number: 17.190.678


This medallion with its Greek inscriptions identifying the image as Jesus Christ, is from a group of twelve that once surrounded an icon of the Archangel Gabriel. The medallions may have been sent as a gift from the Byzantine court to the neighboring Christian state of Georgia, and are among the finest surviving examples of cloisonné enamel. In this Byzantine technique, compartments, or cells, were outlined by thin sheets of gold or silver, filled with colored glass paste, and then fired at a high temperature, with the melting glass forming a solid surface. As in this medallion, the process often required several firings before the final polishing.