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Anonymous (eleventh/twelfth century)

 
 

Obverse

The Virgin orans with a medallion of Christ before her. Sigla: Θ̣Υ̣ : [Μ(ήτη)ρ] Θ(εο)ῦ. Border of dots.

Reverse

The Archangel Michael, wearing the imperial loros, holding a trefoil scepter in his right hand and a globus cruciger in his left. Sigla: Χ̣|ΑΧ̣|. : Ἀ(ρ)χ(άγγελος) [Μ(ι)]χ(αὴλ). Border of dots.

Obverse

The Virgin orans with a medallion of Christ before her. Sigla: Θ̣Υ̣ : [Μ(ήτη)ρ] Θ(εο)ῦ. Border of dots.

Reverse

The Archangel Michael, wearing the imperial loros, holding a trefoil scepter in his right hand and a globus cruciger in his left. Sigla: Χ̣|ΑΧ̣|. : Ἀ(ρ)χ(άγγελος) [Μ(ι)]χ(αὴλ). Border of dots.

Accession number BZS.1955.1.1841
Diameter 19.0 mm
Previous Editions

DO Seals 7, no. 10.43.

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

Commentary

On this specimen, the ends of Michael’s trefoil scepter are all equal in height, a rare detail. There is a known published parallel piece: Seibt-Zarnitz, Kunstwerk, no. 5.3.9, where the authors note the existence of four similar, but not identical pieces as well: Konstantopoulos, Βυζαντιακὰ Μολυβδόβουλλα, nos. 725α, 730, (BZS.1947.2.1795 and BZS.1958.106.4038). However, without photographs it is difficult to determine how similar the two specimens in the Athens collection actually are. The reverse on no. 730 is a bearded figure and therefore not the Archangel Michael but rather no. 729 is more likely the similar piece. The two Dumbarton Oaks specimens cited by Seibt and Zarnitz bear similar iconography but are part of another group that bear strikingly similar stylistic qualities and appear below in the present catalogue: nos. 10.72 (BZS.1958.106.838); 10.74 (BZS.1958.106.5748); 10.75 (BZS.1958.106.1588); 10.76 (BZS.1951.31.5.3425); 10.77 (BZS.1955.1.1842); and 10.78 (BZS.1958.106.4958). The following piece in this catalogue, no. 10.44, is a parallel example, while the subsequent example, no. 10.45, is extremely similar in details but yet appears to be stamped from a different boulloterion.