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Two-Sided Medallion with Sts. Basil and Nicholas

late 10th century - early 11th century
3 cm x 3 cm (1 3/16 in. x 1 3/16 in.)
enamel on copper

Not on view


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Additional Image St. Nicholas?
St. Nicholas?

This two-sided cloisonné enamel medallion depicts Sts. Basil and Nicholas. On one side, against a light blue enamelled background is the bust of the Church Father, St. Basil. On the back is a similar bust of another Church Father, possibly St. Nicholas. The colors were originally bright and varied, but because the enamel has deteriorated, they have darkened and become less distinct. The medallion is particularly interesting because it is enamelled on both sides and because it is executed on copper rather than on gold.

M. Ross, Jewelry, Enamels and Art of the Migration Period, Catalogue of the Byzantine and Early Mediaeval Antiquities in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection, Vol. II, (Washington, DC, 1965), no. 155 and pl. LXXI.

Handbook of the Dumbarton Oaks Collection, Harvard University (Washington, DC, 1967), no. 252.

K. Wessel, Die Byzantinische Emailkunst (Recklinghausen, 1967), no. 42. See dossier for excerpt from the English language edition, Byzantine Enamels of the 5th to the 13th century, (Greenwich, CT, 1967).

Acquisition History
Said to have been found in Constantinople.

Gift of Mildred Barnes and Robert Bliss, Dumbarton Oaks, 1959.

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