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Revetment for Altar Table Top


Byzantine
mid 6th century
100 x 51.3 cm (39 3/8 x 20 3/16 in.)
silver
BZ.1965.1.10.k

On view


Permalink: http://museum.doaks.org/objects-1/info/74709

Additional Images
Click an image to view a larger version
Additional Image Altar table top diagram
Altar table top diagram
Additional Image Reconstructed section
Reconstructed section
Additional Image Reconstructed section
Reconstructed section
Additional Image Reverse of sheet, after restoration
Reverse of sheet, after restoration
Additional Image Rolled, before treatment
Rolled, before treatment
Additional Image The three rolled sheets, before restoration
The three rolled sheets, before restoration


Description
Among the many unique objects found in the Sion Treasure were flat, folded sections of silver that could be identified as the top and the inscribed edges of an altar. Like so many elements in the Sion Treasure, this contributes appreciably to archaeological and art historical data known concerning altars from the early Byzantine period. The undecorated surface sections were found rolled up while the inscribed edges of the tabletop had been carefully flattened and folded. These conditions required the intervention of a master conservator, familiar with the tensile limitations of ancient silver, to unfold and cautiously reform the individual sections in order to restore an accurate impression of the altar. Surprisingly, nails (BZ.1963.36.30) made of silver had been found in the Treasure and these were found to fit holes on the underside of the inscribed pieces, securing their attachment to the altar’s original supporting core.

For purposes of display, a narrow end of the altar was restored, made up of one top section and the inscribed edges around it (BZ.1963.36.11b-d, BZ.1965.10.f, and BZ.1965.1.10k). When complete, the entire inscription revealed that it had been dedicated by a bishop Paregoros. We do not know the relationship of this bishop to bishop Eutychianos, the major donor of the Sion Treasure.

The inscription, in repoussé, reads:
+Paregoros, most humble bishop, offers [this] to Christ the True God for the memory and repose of his parents, and brothers, and their children (nieces and nephews), and Nicholas, Se[sic] Severus, and Apphianos, the lector+

-S. Zwirn


Bibliography
S. A. Boyd, "A 'Metropolitan' Treasure from a Church in the Provinces: An introduction to the Study of the Sion Treasure," in Ecclesiastical Silver Plate in Sixth-Century Byzantium: Papers of the Symposium held May 16-18, 1986, at the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, and Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C., ed. S.A. Boyd and M.M. Mango (Washington, D.C., 1992), 5-37, esp. 12, 32-33, fig. S60.1-S67.1, checklist numbers 60-67.

I. ?ev?enko, "The Sion Treasure: The Evidence of the Inscriptions," in Ecclesiastical Silver Plate in Sixth-Century Byzantium: Papers of the Symposium held May 16-18, 1986, at the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, and Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C., ed. S.A. Boyd and M.M. Mango (Washington, D.C., 1992), 39-56, esp. 41, 55.

S. Boyd, "Literary Evidence for Silver Tomb Revetments in the Early Christian Period," in Thymiama: Ste Mneme tes Laskarinas Boura 1 (Athens, 1994), 35-38.

G. Bühl, ed., Dumbarton Oaks: The Collections (Washington, D.C., 2008), 92, pl. p. 93.

F. A. Bauer, Gabe und Person: Geschenke als Träger personaler Aura in der Spätantike, Eichstätter Universitätsreden (Eichstätt, 2009), fig. 59a.


Acquisition History
Purchased from George Zacos (dealer) by Mrs. Robert Woods Bliss, Switzerland, 1965.

Given by Mrs. Robert Woods Bliss to Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, D.C., 1965.

Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Byzantine Collection, Washington, D.C.