Plaque with Scenes at Emmaus

Date: ca. 850–900

Geography: Made in northern France

Culture: Carolingian

Medium: Elephant ivory

Dimensions: Overall: 4 9/16 x 9 1/4 x 1/4 in. (11.5 x 23.5 x 0.6 cm)

Classification: Ivories

Credit Line: The Cloisters Collection, 1970

Accession Number: 1970.324.1


This plaque probably once served as the side panel of a small, luxuriously crafted box made for a church. The decorative animal and floral motifs on the border were originally inlaid with gold. The animated carving in the center shows two scenes from the life of Christ. At the left, Christ appears after his resurrection to two disciples on the road to Emmaus. They do not recognize him, but invite him, with bold gestures, to dine with them. At the right, the three have supper within the town walls of Emmaus, and it is there, in the breaking of the bread, where Christ's identity is revealed.