Enthroned Virgin and Child

Date: ca. 1300

Geography: Made in probably London, England

Culture: British

Medium: Elephant ivory

Dimensions: Overall: 10 3/4 x 5 5/16 x 3 3/4in. (27.3 x 13.5 x 9.6cm)

Classification: Ivories

Credit Line: The Cloisters Collection, 1979

Accession Number: 1979.402


Once enclosed within an ivory or perhaps silver tabernacle, this ivory statuette of the Virgin and Child is a rare surviving example from 13th-century England. Used as a personal devotional object, this statue was made at a time when the cult of the Virgin had reached its peak of popularity. The composition emphasizes the reciprocal tenderness between the mother and child: the Virgin turns slightly to her left to face the now-missing infant Christ. The rich, reddish brown surface may be the result of staining with walnut oil or some other agent.