You are here:Home/Resources/ Byzantine Seals/ Search the Catalogue/ Anonymous (eleventh century, second half)

Anonymous (eleventh century, second half)

 
 

Obverse

The Archangel Michael wearing the imperial loros and holding a scepter, topped by a row of pellets, in his right hand and globus cruciger in his left. Sigla: ΜΧ : Μ(ι)χ(αὴλ). Border of dots.

Reverse

St Nicholas, blessing with his right hand and holding a gospel book with his left, above each column of inscription are the “Tongues of Fire”. Inscription in two columns: |ΝΙΚ|Ο|Λ : ὁ ἅ(γιος) Νικόλ(αος). Border of dots.

Obverse

The Archangel Michael wearing the imperial loros and holding a scepter, topped by a row of pellets, in his right hand and globus cruciger in his left. Sigla: ΜΧ : Μ(ι)χ(αὴλ). Border of dots.

Reverse

St Nicholas, blessing with his right hand and holding a gospel book with his left, above each column of inscription are the “Tongues of Fire”. Inscription in two columns: |ΝΙΚ|Ο|Λ : ὁ ἅ(γιος) Νικόλ(αος). Border of dots.

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.3483
Diameter 19.0 mm; field: 13.0 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 7, 12.9. 

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

Commentary

This is a unique example of the “Tongues of Fire” accompanying a figure other than that of the Virgin, or the few numismatic examples occurring with the image of Christ. For discussion of the “Tongues of Fire” over Marian sigla on numerous seals, see no. 4.5, above. For a fuller discussion of our seal with an image of Saint Nicholas with the “Tongues of Fire,” see J. Cotsonis, “An Image of Saint Nicholas with the “Tongues of Fire” on a Byzantine Lead Seal,” SBS 13 (forthcoming), in which the shared qualities of the Virgin and Saint Nicholas are outlined, with a special emphasis on the devotional and artistic culture of the eleventh century, with an emphasis on the understanding of the icon as “living painting” (empsychos graphe), as an explanation for this iconographic device.