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Anonymous (thirteenth century, second half)

 
 

Obverse

Half length of the Virgin orans with a medallion of Christ before her. Sigla: ̣̅Θ̣Υ̅: Μή(τηρ) Θ(εο)ῦ. Border of dots.

Reverse

Bust of St John the Baptist, holding a cross-staff in his right hand, his left hand is indistinct. Inscription in two columns: ̣|ΙΟ̣||ΡΜ : ὁ ἅ(γιος) Ἰω(άννης) ὁ Πρ(όδ)ρ(ο)μ(ος). Border of dots.

Obverse

Half length of the Virgin orans with a medallion of Christ before her. Sigla: ̣̅Θ̣Υ̅: Μή(τηρ) Θ(εο)ῦ. Border of dots.

Reverse

Bust of St John the Baptist, holding a cross-staff in his right hand, his left hand is indistinct. Inscription in two columns: ̣|ΙΟ̣||ΡΜ : ὁ ἅ(γιος) Ἰω(άννης) ὁ Πρ(όδ)ρ(ο)μ(ος). Border of dots.

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.3443
Diameter 18.0 mm; field: 13.0 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 7, no. 10.135.

Credit Line Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Bequest of Thomas Whittemore.

Commentary

Saint John’s cross-staff has an additional upturned curved bar at the base of the cross, a decorative element frequently seen in thirteenth-century images of the Saint, as in two icons from Sinai: Sinai: Treasures, fig. 52 and Holy Image-Hallowed Ground, no. 10. A similar cross is seen held by Saint Peter in the icon of circa 1300 in the Dumbarton Oaks collection (see Weitzmann, St. Peter, fig.1). The crudeness of the figure-style of Saint John on this seal recalls that of numerous seals from the second half of the thirteenth century.

The letters ̅Ι are reversed.