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Anonymous (eleventh/twelfth century)

 
 

Obverse

Uncertain narrative scene: either the Ascension or the Hospitality of Abraham (the Trinity); remains of an illegible inscription across the top of the scene. Traces of an inscription: .Α ... : Border of dots.

Reverse

Bust of the Virgin oransSigla: ̅ΘΥ̅: Μή(τη)ρ Θ(εο)ῦ. Border of dots.

Obverse

Uncertain narrative scene: either the Ascension or the Hospitality of Abraham (the Trinity); remains of an illegible inscription across the top of the scene. Traces of an inscription: .Α ... : Border of dots.

Reverse

Bust of the Virgin oransSigla: ̅ΘΥ̅: Μή(τη)ρ Θ(εο)ῦ. Border of dots.

Accession number BZS.1951.31.5.3714
Diameter 20.0 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 7, 2.19. 

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

Commentary

A central facing figure, either an angel or Christ, flanked by two angels and a bearded figure standing at the far left who could be Abraham; the cloth at the center may be the table-covering from the Hospitality scene and the angel at the right appears to be seated on some kind of seat or bench, supporting the identification as the Hospitality of Abraham. Between the heads of the central figure and the angel on the left there appear to be leaves of a tree-that of the Oak of Marma-the site of the Hospitality of Abraham. If not, the cloth could be draped from the angels’ hands while supporting Christ’s return to Heaven at the Ascension. In either case, the image of the Ascension and that of the Hospitality of Abraham are extremely rare on seals: only one of each is known from the published collections: Lihačev, IZIGI, 50, fig. 68 (Ascension, twelfth-century) and Šandrovskaja, “Sfragistika,”no. 784 (Trinity, eleventh-twelfth-century).