Monday, November 16, 2009

Bits of Byzantium

Though not as spectacular as the Byzantine Museum in Athens the Bode Museum does house a very fine collection of artifacts from the glory days of Byzantium. There are some intriguing examples of ivory carving and stone work from the days of the Empire of the East.

These lovely miniatures reflect the remarkable skill of the ivory carvers of Constantinople and the Empire.
(From top right to bottom left.)These rather saucy dragons adorned the head of a staff of a court official. A head fragment and a saint showing traces of paint that would have adorned some of the figures. The Archangel Michael girds for battle. The 40 saints (and yes there are 40 - I counted) are set out on the frozen river to die.
This lovely diptych dates from the 6th or 7th century. It would have been joined by silver hinges which have long since disappeared, possibly in one of the lootings as Western Crusaders "liberated" Byzantium.

The stone carvings are equally as remarkable.
The top marble is a fragment of a Chancel screen from the 8th century. It found its way from Constantinople to Venice at some point.

16 novembre - Santa Margherita di Scozia

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2 comments:

sageweb said...

I am amazed at the workmanship!..awesome!

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

i have always had a love for byzantium art..i love the dragons.