Byzantine Women and Their World

, Harvard University Art Museums
  • Solidus of Basil I

    Solidus of Basil I

    Obverse: Bust facing, bearded, wearing loros and crown with cross. In r. hand, globus surmounted by patriarchal cross; in l., akakia. Reverse: Two busts facing, Constantine on l., beardless, wearing chlamys and crown with cross, holding in r. hand gl. cr.; Eudocia on r., wearing loros and crown with cross and two pinnacles, holding in l. hand cross scepter. Above, cross.

  • Miliaresion of Constantine IX with the Meter Theou

    Miliaresion of Constantine IX with the Meter Theou

    Obv.: The Virgin standing, facing, orans, nimbate, wearing tunic and maphorion. To l., MP, to r., ThetaV (both overlined). Double linear border. Concave, large module. Rev.: Emperor standing, facing, wearing scale armor, cloak, and crown with cross and pendilia. In r. hand, long cross with pellet at end of each arm; l. hand on hilt of sheathed sword resting with point on the ground. Double linear border.

  • Implement

    Implement

  • Hyperperon of Andronikos II

    Hyperperon of Andronikos II

    Reverse die axis, 6 o'clock Obverse: between castles inscribed in Greek (sigla of Andronikos II) Reverse: left, top to bottom in column inscribed in Greek (Andronikos, ruler in Christ, Palaiologos); to right of Christ (Jesus Christ)

  • Holy Rider Lead Token

    Holy Rider Lead Token

  • Lead  Token with Presentation of Mary to Temple

    Lead Token with Presentation of Mary to Temple

  • Pyxis

    Pyxis

    Cylindrical bone pyxis with a lid attached by a bronze hinge and latch. Holes for a second, now lost, attachment are present on the opposite side. The exterior of the cylinder and lid is decorated with carved lines and raised bands. The top of the lid bears incised concentric circles and a carved spherical knob-handle. Some chipping. The green discoloration is caused by the bronze hinge.

  • Solidus of Eudoxia, Constantinople

    Solidus of Eudoxia, Constantinople

    Obv.: Bust of Eudoxia to r. crowned by the hand od God, wearing a rosette-diadem. Rev.: Victory seated r on cuirass, inscribing Chi-Rho on shield set on column clockwise from lower left,

  • Solidus of Theodosius II, Constantinople

    Solidus of Theodosius II, Constantinople

    Obverse: Armored bust three-quarters facing; Reverse: Constantinopolis seated, looking right, holding spear in right hand and globe surmounted by Victory in left; in left field star;

  • Sleeve Band: Personification

    Sleeve Band: Personification

    In the central roundel is a bust of a female personfication dressed in a green robe dotted with white. She holds a budding bough in each hand. Above her is an inscription in Greek letters reading ΓΕΩΡΓΕ (Georgi). The four smaller roundels contain nereids riding sea creatures. Horizontal bands containing red flowers alternate with blue bands containing fish.

  • Lamp or Censer with Scenes from the Life of Christ

    Lamp or Censer with Scenes from the Life of Christ

  • Polycandelon

    Polycandelon

  • Miniature Codex Containing

    Miniature Codex Containing "Oracles" in Sahidic

  • Mummy Portrait of a Woman with Earrings

    Mummy Portrait of a Woman with Earrings

    This highly naturalistic mummy portrait depicts a young woman with deep brown eyes, arched brows, and a long pointed nose. Her dark hair is pulled back with only a row of small curls framing her forehead. Her jewelry is simple: small gold double-hooped earrings, each with a pendant pearl. She wears a deep purple tunic with green shoulder bands and maroon clasps all over a white undergarment, visible only at the neckline.

  • Saint Friday

    Saint Friday

  • One-handled Jug

    One-handled Jug

  • Lamp with Cross-shaped Handle Guard

    Lamp with Cross-shaped Handle Guard

  • Tetarteron of Michael VII Ducas and Maria of Alania

    Tetarteron of Michael VII Ducas and Maria of Alania

    Obv.: Bust of the Virgin facing, wearing tunic and maphorion, holding medallion of the Infant Christ with cross behind head. Single border of dots. Rev.: Half-length figures of Michael (on l.) and Maria (on r.), facing, holding between them long cross, with terminal pellets to arms, on shaft with X. Michael wears modified loros and crown with cross and pendilia, Maria, modified loros and collar-piece and crown with pinnacles and pendilia. Single border of dots. reverse die axis 6 o'clock. worn die.

  • Solidus of Constantine VI and Irene, Constantinople

    Solidus of Constantine VI and Irene, Constantinople

    Obv.: Bust of Irene facing, wearing loros and crown with cross, pinnacles and pendilia, holding globe cruciger in r. hand and cross scepter in l. Rev.: Bust of Constantine facing, beardless, wearing chlamys and crown with cross, holding globe cruciger in r. hand and akakia in l.

  • Histamenon of the Augusta Eudokia Makrembolitissa

    Histamenon of the Augusta Eudokia Makrembolitissa

    Obv.: Christ seated on square-backed throne (Type IIc) facing, bearded, with cross nimbus wearing tunic and himation; r. hand raised in front of body in blessing, l. holds book by spine on knee. Double border of dots. Rev.: Three figures standing facing. In center, Eudocia, on dais, wearing modified loros and kite-shaped panel and crown with pinnacles and pendilia, holding in r. knobbed scepter; l. hand on breast. To l., Michael wearing modified loros with loros-waist and crown with cross and pendilia, holding in r., gl. cr., in l., akakia. To r., similar figure of Constantius, but gl. cr. in l. and akakia in r. Double border of dots.

  • Anonymous Commemorative Coin, Constantinople

    Anonymous Commemorative Coin, Constantinople

    Obv.: Bust of Constantinopolis l.; clockwise from lower left, CONSTANTINOPOLI Rev.: In exergue, CONS Z (mintmark of Constantinople, workshop 7)

  • Spindle

    Spindle

    This spindle consists of a shaft with a V-shaped slit at the top where thread would have been attached. The disc (whorl) acted as a weight to twist the fabric. The end of the spindle is carved into a sharp point.

  • Lead Hystera Amulet of Saint Theophano

    Lead Hystera Amulet of Saint Theophano

    Obv.: Wandering womb (hysteron) between serpents,. Rev.: Saint Theophano standing facing in the orant position, dressed in a tunic and a cloak fastened at the shoulder and decorated with jewels. She wears a three-pronged crown and pendilia, and a collar made of a double row of pearls.

  • Three-Ounce Weight with Imperial Busts

    Three-Ounce Weight with Imperial Busts

  • Lead Seal of Anna Doukaina, Sebaste

    Lead Seal of Anna Doukaina, Sebaste

    Obv. Bust of the Virgin orans, the medallion of the Christ Child on her breast. in upper field to left and right of virgin, inscribed in Greek (Mother of God) Rev. metrical, four lines, Greek inscription (Mother of God, help Anna Doukaina, sebaste)

  • Solidus of Pulcheria, Constantinople

    Solidus of Pulcheria, Constantinople

    Obv.: Bust of Pulcheria to r; above, Manus Dei (the hand of God) holding crown. Rev.: Constantinople seated on throne to l, holding globe cruciger in r hand and scepter in l, shield at l side, l foot on prow; in l field, star.

  • Tremissis of Eudoxia, Constantinople

    Tremissis of Eudoxia, Constantinople

    Obverse: Diademed bustof Eudoxia right Reverse: Cross within wreath

  • Birth of John the Baptist

    Birth of John the Baptist

  • Plaque with a Maenad

    Plaque with a Maenad

  • Spoon

    Spoon

    This carved bone spoon is in one piece. The bowl is oval shaped and the handle is sharpened to a point at the end. The surface is highly polished.

  • Mummy Portrait of a Woman

    Mummy Portrait of a Woman

  • Pectoral Cross-Shaped Reliquary with Saints

    Pectoral Cross-Shaped Reliquary with Saints

  • Follis of Flavia Julia Helena, Antioch

    Follis of Flavia Julia Helena, Antioch

    Obv.: clockwise from lower left, FL[AVIA] HELENA AVGVSTA (Flavia Helena, Augusta) Rev.: clockwise from lower left, SECVRITIAS REIPVBLICE (Security of the State); in exergue S M ANT S (mintmark Antioch, workshop 2)

  • Histamenon of John I with the Meter Theou

    Histamenon of John I with the Meter Theou

    Obv.: Bust of Christ Pantocrator (Type VIIIb), bearded, with cross nimbus having 2 pellets in lower arms, 1 in upper, wearing tunic and himation; r. arm raised in blessing in sling of claok, l. clasps book to breast. Rev.: To l., bust of John facing, bearded, wearing modified loros and crown with cross and pendilia, holding in l. hand, plain cross. To r., bust of the Virgin facing, nimbate, wearing mantle and maphorion, touching emperor's crown with her r. hand. Above, Manus Dei. reverse die axis 7 o'clock

  • Trachy Nomisma of Andronikos I

    Trachy Nomisma of Andronikos I

    reverse die axis 6 o'clock Standing Virgin orant with clipeate bust of Christ child on her breast Greek Inscription: clockwise from lower left, obverse to reverse (God-Bearer, help the ruler Andronikos); obverse, left and right (Mother of God); reverse, left and right of Christ (Jesus Christ)

  • Histamenon of Romanos IV and Eudokia Makrembolitissa

    Histamenon of Romanos IV and Eudokia Makrembolitissa

    Obv.: Three figures standign on separate cushions. In center, Michael VII, large, wearing modified loros with loros-waist and crown with cross and pendilia, holding in r. a labarum-headed scepter and in l., akakia. To l., similar figure of Constantius, holding gl. cr. in r. and akakia in l.; to r., Andronicus, similar, but akakia in r. and gl. cr. in l. Double border of dots. Rev.: Three figures standing, facing. In center, Christ standing on square footstool, nimbate, wearing tunic and himation, crowning Romanus on l. and Eudocia and r. Romanus wears modified loros and crown with pendilia, holds r. hand on breast and gl. cr. in r. Eudocia wears modified loros with kite-shaped panel and crown with pinnacles and pendilia, holds gl. cr. in r. and l. hand on breast. Double border of dots. reverse die axis 6 o'clock

  • Histamenon of the Augusta Theodora Makrembolitissa

    Histamenon of the Augusta Theodora Makrembolitissa

    Obv.: Christ standing on square souppedion (Type IVb) facing, bearded, with cross nimbus, wearing tunic and himation; r. hand raised in blessing in sling of cloak, l. holds book, with 5-pellet design on cover, by lower edge. Double border of dots. Rev.: To l., Theodora standing, facing, wearing crown with pinnacles and pendilia, divitsion, and loros with collar-piece and shield-like ornament; r. hand on breast. To r., the Virgin standing, facing, nimbate, wearing tunic and maphorion and holding l. hand up before body. To l. of her head, M, to r., Theta (both overlined). Between them they hold labarum with patterning, pellet on shaft, with pellet below. Double border of dots. reverse die axis 6 o'clock

  • Needle

    Needle

  • Needle

    Needle

  • Follis (AE3) of Fausta, Ticinum

    Follis (AE3) of Fausta, Ticinum

    Obv.: Bust r.; clockwise from lower left, FLAV[IA] MAX[IMA] FAVSTA AVG[VSTA] Rev.: Spes standing l.; clockwise from lower left, SPES REI PVBLICAE (Hope of the State); in exergue, P U T (workshop 1, control mark, mint of Ticinum)

  • Commemorative Coin of Trier

    Commemorative Coin of Trier

    Obv.: Bust of Roma l.; clockwise from lower left, URBS ROMA Rev.: In exergue, TR.S (minmark of Trier, workshop 2)

  • Copper Assarion of John V

    Copper Assarion of John V

    Reverse die axis 7 o'clock

  • Amulet with Holy Rider and Virgin Enthroned

    Amulet with Holy Rider and Virgin Enthroned

  • Miliaresion of Romanos III, Constantinople

    Miliaresion of Romanos III, Constantinople

    Obv.: Virgin nimbate, wearing tunic and maphorion, standing on dais and turned slightly to the r. Her r. hand is on her breast and on her left arm she holds the Christ-child, raising r. hand in gesture of benediction and holding scroll in l. Triple linear border with eight globules on middle line. Rev.: Emperor bearded, wearing modified loros and crown with cross and pendilia, standing facing on round cushion, holding long patriarchal cross in r. hand and globe surmounted by patriarchal cross in l. Triple linear border with eight globules as on obverse.

  • Seal of the Protoproedros of the Dikaspoloi

    Seal of the Protoproedros of the Dikaspoloi

    Obv.: In a border of dots, the Deisis, in center the Virgin, orans, standing facing, the medallion of Christ Child on her breast, to left an unidentified saint, to right Saint Nicholas, both standing, their hands raised in supplication towards the Virgin. Greek inscription (Mother of God); vertical, on either side of figure at right, (Saint Nicholas) Rev.: Greek metrical inscription in eight lines, (I, the first proedros of judres, place you [Virgin, saints depicted] as guards of all that has been written [court documents sealed with this])

  • Solidus of Constantius II, Arelate (Arles)

    Solidus of Constantius II, Arelate (Arles)

    Obv: clockwise from lower left, FL[AVIVS] IVL[IVS] CONSTAN TIVS PERP[ETVVS] AVC[VSTVS] (Flavius Julius Constantiius Eternal Augustus) Rev: clockwise from lower left, GLORIA REI PUBLICAE (Glory of the State); on shield, VOT[A]/XXX/MVLT[IS VOTIS]/XXXX (vows of the 30th anniversary, with many vows for a 40th anniversary); in exergue, KONSTAN (mintmark of Arles, workshop 3); star

  • Solidus of the Augusta Aelia Verina, Constantinople

    Solidus of the Augusta Aelia Verina, Constantinople

    Obv.: Diademed bust r; above, Manus Dei holding crown; clockwise from lower left, AEL[IA] (Greek character)ERINA AVC[VSTA] (Aelia Verina Augusta) Rev.: Victory standing l holding long cross; in r field, star; clockwise from lower left, VICTORI AAVCCC (Victory of the three co-augusti Verina, Leo I, and Zeno); in exergue, CONOB (mintmark of Constantinople, refined gold); star in left field; pierced

  • Follis of Constantine VI and Irene, Constantinople

    Follis of Constantine VI and Irene, Constantinople

    Obv.: Bust of Irene facing, wearing loros and crown with cross, pinnacles, and pendilia. In r. hand, gl. cr.; in l., cross scepter. Rev.: Above horizontal line, bust of Constantine facing, wearing chlamys and crown with cross. In r. hand, gl. cr. In field r., cross. Two pellets r., only 1 visible to l. Old info: reverse die axis 6 o'clock Obverse: facing bust of Irene, wearing loros and crown with cross Reverse: facing bust of Constantine, beardless, wearing chlamys and crown with cross large below central line, M (mark of value = 40 nummi); smaller, below, A (workshop 1); to the left and right, X and N (date formula

  • Solidus weight (exagion) with Busts of Three Emperors and Moneta

    Solidus weight (exagion) with Busts of Three Emperors and Moneta

    Obv.: draped busts of Arkadios, Honorios and Thedosios II, facing wearing diadem. Rev.: Moneta wearing a long tunic and a cloak over the shoulders, standing facing, head turned to l., holding scales in r. hand and cornucopia in l.

  • Solidus of Theophilus, Constantinople

    Solidus of Theophilus, Constantinople

    Obv.: Three busts facing: Theophilos in center, bearded, wearing chlamys and crown, with cross, between Thekla on l. and Theodora on r., each wearing crown with loros and triangular ornaments. Two crosses in field above. Rev.: Busts of Anna and Anastasia facing, each wearing crown with triangles, central cross, and pendilia. Cross in field above.

  • Textile Fragment: Duck and Flowers

    Textile Fragment: Duck and Flowers

    Against a red background, a duck woven from undyed wool with red details walks along a slightly sloping, stylized ground line. The duck is framed by a thin square line of undyed wool. Blue, green, and yellow buds and rosettes form a wide border surrounding the duck and fill the remainder of the red background. The repeating block motif below the ground line echoes the dentil border surrounding the red square. A black line at top of the fragment hints at the textile's additional decoration that is now lost. The duck’s red feathers and eye are executed in the flying shuttle technique of supplementary weft wrapping. In the areas of the six colored rosettes, three supplementary weft floats are introduced to create the diagonal and vertical lines separating the petals. These wefts then form a tapestry weave of 10 picks making up the centers of the flowers, and then again become supplementary floats over the tapestry woven petals.

  • Tunic Fragment: Four Dancers under Arches

    Tunic Fragment: Four Dancers under Arches

    This textile fragment represents the front or back side of a tunic. Monochrome tapestry-woven segments decorate what would have been a garment primarily made of plain woven, undyed fabric. The upper area of this fragment features four abstracted dancers between the columns of an arcade. A lunette sits above each opening; two of the lunettes contain an architectural; design while the other two feature figural busts. The arcade is made up of spiral columns with small Corinthian capitals. From the left, the first and third dancers are male and wear straps across their chests. The second and fourth figures are female and wear tunics and long scarves meant to accentuate their movements in the dance. The clavi bands surrounding the arcade scene contain fish, animals and plant life. The field is organized into three rows, of repeating motifs. The clavi form a continuous band that runs around the rectangle containing the arcade and dancers. In the upper horizontal portion of this band, the fish, animal, and plant motifs are arranged in two rows instead of the three used elsewhere. All of the fish and animals have the same orientation, as if a ground line runs on the right side of the tunic. This continuous band is edged with finials on most of its sides; at the very top edge of the tunic however there is a purple band with buff medallions containing small birds. A reinforced selvedge at the top marks the neckline of the tunic opening. Between the clavi bands is an expanse of plain woven undyed linen. A slit between a pair of warps near the arcade has been stitched closed. There are evenly distributed horizontal creases towards the bottom of the piece and a few tears in this area. Several neatly cut fragments in the upper left corner have been added or restored. In the fragment forming the right angle of the purple band, the warps are running in the wrong direction, clearly indicating this fragment does not belong in its current position. These discontinuous fragments may have been cut from another location on the tunic and added in here to create the appearance of completeness. Staining in the upper left area of the intact textile suggests that this portion had suffered damage in a burial context.

  • Roundel: Flourishing Vine

    Roundel: Flourishing Vine

    In the roundel, a stylized and symmetrical vine with large leaves and grape clusters grows from a volute krater with a footed base. The border is formed by a design of two alternating motifs: a pair of leaves on a single stem and a triangle topped with a circular shape. The flying shuttle technique creates details in the vine, krater, and border, using a buff colored supplementary weft. Red wool warps are visible in areas where the tapestry wefts have been lost. A red ground with red wool warps and wefts surrounds the roundel.

  • Bottle

    Bottle

  • Portrait Head of a Woman

    Portrait Head of a Woman

  • Cuff Band: Knot Motif

    Cuff Band: Knot Motif

    Cuff band made up of two parallel bands. The central rectangle in each band contains two Solomonic knots flanked by rectangles filled with diamond and X-shaped patterns. Dark blue and undyed wool. Flying shuttle technique used to create interlace.

  • Mirror Disc

    Mirror Disc

  • Miliaresion of Michael VII Doukas and Maria of Alania

    Miliaresion of Michael VII Doukas and Maria of Alania

    Obv.: Cross crosslet above three steps, each arm ending in a pellet and with a pellet at either side below, with X at the central crossing and nearly encircled pellet on the shaft. To l., bust of Michael facing, wearing chlamys with tablion and crown with cross and pendilia; to r., bust of Maria wearing modified loros with collar-piece and crown with pinnacles and pendilia. Triple linear border. Rev.: Inscription with illegible upper ornament and -- • -- below. Triple linear border. reverse die axis 12 o'clock

  • Solidus of Michael III and Theodora, Constantinople

    Solidus of Michael III and Theodora, Constantinople

    Obv.: Bust of Christ (Type Vc) facing, bearded, with cross behind head, wearing tunic and himation; r. hand raised in gesture of blessing in front of body, l. hand holding a book from beneath. Rev.: Two busts facing, Michael on l., bearded, wearing chlamys and crown with cross; Theodora on r., larger, wearing loros and crown with pendilia, two pinnacles and cross. Above, cross.

  • Tetarteron of Romanuos IV and Eudokia Makrembolitissa

    Tetarteron of Romanuos IV and Eudokia Makrembolitissa

    Obv.: Bust of the Virgin facing, wearing tunic and maphorion, holding medallion of the Infant Christ with cross behind head. Single border of dots. Rev.: Half-figure of Romanus (on l.) and Eudocia (on r.) facing, holding between them globe which supports a long cross, Romanus wearing modified loros and crown with cross and pendilia, Eudocia wearing modified loros and crown with pinnacles and pendilia. Single border of dots. reverse die exis 6 o'clock

  • Tunic Fragment with Birds, Flowers, Lions, and Dancers

    Tunic Fragment with Birds, Flowers, Lions, and Dancers

    This tunic fragment features two short clavi (shoulder bands) terminating in pendants containing blue medallions with a red border. The main field of the fragment features a design of alternating blue and red roundels: blue roundels with red borders contain yellow and red animals, probably lions; red roundels contain nude human dancers wearing the scarves or implements characteristic of members of Dionysus’ retinue. Two thin dark blue tendrils emerge from each roundel, indicating the medallions are composed of vines, a common compositional motif. Separating the small roundels are red and blue candelabra plants flanked by a pair of green birds with crests (probably quails or peahens). Inside the narrow rectangular field between the two clavi, interlacing thick red and yellow vine scrolls or garlands contain spiky green flower buds. Below the pair of vines/garlands, blue birds with crests and red wings flank large green flowers/jewels and baskets with red fruits suspended from the vines above. The top of the fragment features a geometric meander design created in the flying shuttle technique of supplementary weft wrapping. A dark blue wave scroll border runs around the clavi.

  • Hairpin with Decorated Top

    Hairpin with Decorated Top

    This carved, bone hairpin is in two pieces--a bulbous head and tapered shaft. Incised geometric designs cover the surface. On the shaft, are a series of three rings and a cross hatch of oblique lines. On the head, are a pattern of crosshatch and a series of three bands, forming a spiral pattern.

  • Fragment of  a Lead Hystera Amulet

    Fragment of a Lead Hystera Amulet

    Obverse: between serpents, inscribed in Greek (life is light) Reverse: inscribed in Greek (saint, masc.)

  • Seal of Constantine, Nephew of the Patriarch Cerularius

    Seal of Constantine, Nephew of the Patriarch Cerularius

    Obverse: Deisis, Saint Nicholas on left and Saint Menas Kallilelados on right, standing with hands uplifted towards a medallion of Christ. inscribed in Greek, on either side of medallion (Jesus Christ); vertical left (Saint Nicholas); vertical right (Saint Menas Kallikelados); center in six lines (Lord help your servant Constantine) Reverse: Saint Demetrios on left and Saint Panteleimon on right, standing with arms raised towards medallion of the Virgin. inscribed in Greek, on either side of medallion (Mother of God); vertical left (Saint Demetrios); vertical right (Saint Panteleimon); center (Lord help your servant Constantine)

  • Solidus of Pulcheria, Constantinople

    Solidus of Pulcheria, Constantinople

    Obv.: Diademed bust of Pucheria to r., crowned by the Hand of God (Manu Dei) Rev.: Victory standing l. holding long jeweled cross in r. hand, w. star in upper l. field

  • Follis of Justin II, Constantinople

    Follis of Justin II, Constantinople

    Obv.: Justin, on l. and Sophia on r., seated, nimbate, on double lyre-backed throne. He holds in r. hand, gl. cr., she holds cruciform scepter. Rev.: M. Above, cross. [old description] reverse axis 6 o'clock Obverse: Justin II and Sophia, seated, crowned clockwise from lower left, D[OMINVS] N[OSTER] IVST[I] NVS P[ER]P[ETVVS] AVC[VSTVS] (Our Lord Justin Eternal Augustus} Reverse: at center large M (mark of value = 40 nummi) ; within M, E (workhop 5); at left, vertical, and right of M, ANNO X (year 10 of Justin's reign); in exergue, CON (mintmark of Constantinople); cross above

  • Solidus of Constantine VII, Constantinople

    Solidus of Constantine VII, Constantinople

    Obv.: Christ seated facing, bearded, on small lyre-backed throne, wearing tunic and himation, r. hand raised outward in blessing, book resting on l. knee. Rev.: To l., bust of Constantine facing, beardless, wearing chlamys and crown with cross; to r., bust of Zoe facing, wearing traditional loros and crown with pendilia, semi-circular plaques, and cross. They hold between them a globus with tall patriarchal cross by its shaft, with Zoe's hand above Constantine's. reverse die axis 7 o'clock

  • Solildus of Valentinian II, Constantinople

    Solildus of Valentinian II, Constantinople

    Obv.: Rosette diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right Rev.: Constantinopolis seated on throne without lions' heads, holding sceptre in right hand and globe in left hand, right foot on prow. Officina letter at end of legend. CONOB in exergue.

  • Textile Fragment: Rabbit

    Textile Fragment: Rabbit

    A slit tapestry square (tabula), woven from dark purple and undyed wool wefts on linen warps, is surrounded by several inches of plain/tabby woven linen fabric. The figural design is dark against a light background. At the center of the fragment is a running rabbit inside a medallion. The wide decorative border around the rabbit contains sections of delicate interlace (triple strand guilloche) with dots inside the lobes on all four sides, separated by vines and leaves at each corner. The vines and rabbit are outlined in buff thread and stand against false hatched backgrounds (false hatching creates a mottled effect by alternating light and dark threads in the weft. A crowstep border runs around the outside of the square. Supplementary weft wrapping ('flying shuttle') creates many of the vertical lines in the design (parallel to the warp direction), details of the rabbit, and the four dots outside the inner medallion. Strongly eccentric wefts can be seen in the curves of the figural design. The large slits to the right and left of the tapestry square are stitched closed. The square is inwoven with the warps grouped in the area of tapestry weave. Several pairs of self-bands, created by taking multiple threads together in the weft, decorate the areas of plain weave.

  • Roundel: Personification with Candelabra Plants

    Roundel: Personification with Candelabra Plants

    Tapestry woven roundel (orbiculus). The small medallion at its center contains a female figure, likely a beneficent personification, with a green nimbus against a bright red background. Her breasts are distinguished in yellow against her dark blue torso. She wears a skirt with many folds and may be seated. The woman raises one arm and possibly holds up a leaf in a gesture common to depictions of personifications of the earth. Thin white supplementary threads above the woman’s right hand may be an unreadable interpretation of the inscriptions that often identify personifications. Eight thick, gold plant forms outlined in black surround the central medallion in a symmetrical arrangement; these plants are of the jeweled candelabra type often featured in textile medallions in the later part of Late Antiquity. Four of the vine-like plants contain birds, and the other four have leaves/flowers of various colors. Small birds and red dots fill the empty space within the main field. The borders of the central medallion and the larger design field are formed by interlocking color segments outlined in black. The outermost border is formed of red and yellow tendrils and blue dots. Undyed warps run parallel to the orientation of the figural design.

  • Roundel with Multicolored Ivy Leaves

    Roundel with Multicolored Ivy Leaves

    Tapestry woven roundel of colored wool wefts set into plain woven linen cloth. The roundel is not a perfect circle, with flattened top and bottom. The central field of the medallion is red with four heart-shaped flowers with white leaves. The heart shaped flowers are outlined in dark blue and each consist of several different colors: white, yellow, orange, or pink. Between the flowers are white tendrils with yellow and green leaves. Yellow dots containing smaller green dots are placed regularly around the flowers and tendrils. The innermost medallion holds an eight-petalled flower ringed by gold, red, and white. Each petal of the inner flower has a white dot with a smaller red or green dot within it. The medallion has an outer border of interlocking color segments similar to butterfly wings on a dark blue field. The order of the colors in these segments follows a symmetrical arrangement on both horizontal and vertical axes. At top and bottom, the light blue, green and white segments do not interlock.

  • Polycandelon

    Polycandelon

  • Jar

    Jar

    Brownish iridescent surface, true color not visible beneath layers.

  • Lamp with Cross-shaped Handle

    Lamp with Cross-shaped Handle

  • Textile Fragment: Eight-Pointed Star

    Textile Fragment: Eight-Pointed Star

    Leaves located at each point define the star shape of this fragment. At each point, three leaves grow from a single stem; two of the leaves are heart-shaped and the other is a grape leaf. The center of the circle contains a double circle and diamond pattern executed in the flying shuttle technique of supplementary weft wrapping in fine, very white linen thread. This created decorative patterns not integrated into the fabric’s structure. Because these threads rest above the tapestry weave, they are easily broken. Such damage can be seen in the double circles at the center of this fragment.

  • Two-handled Amphoriskos

    Two-handled Amphoriskos

    Small, intact amphora with remains of sealife encrusted on the surface. Narrow mouth and blunt, rounded toe. Underneath the white encrustation, the light brown clay can be seen. The encrustation encircling the round mouth is dyed with purple, either from dye the vessel would have contained or from the shells themselves. Purple was a color reserved for upper classes and royalty in ancient times due to its great expense. The color could be extracted from the Murex shell, which was used to create the dye, but it was expensive to obtain and import these shells.

  • Roundel: Putto on a Horse

    Roundel: Putto on a Horse

    A figure nude except for flowing cape rides a white horse with its mouth open wide, perhaps whinnying. Red yarn marks out details of the figure's face, hand, and bellybutton against the golden body of the putto. Figure and horse are against indigo background with red border.

  • Fragments of a Textile Hanging with Female Busts

    Fragments of a Textile Hanging with Female Busts

    This fragmentary tapestry-woven textile depicts five female busts representing well dressed woman interspersed with stylized pink and green palmettes. The exact orientation of these heads is uncertain, but this was most likely a hanging depicting a secular theme and hung in a domestic space. All the women are dark-haired and wear headdresses topped with crowns; what are either veils or haloes are covered in large round pearls. Though the busts may appear identical at first glance, they are marked by subtle variations in eye color, expression, and details of tunics and jewelry. All of their elaborate robes vary in decoration—some are woven with flower patterns, others are studded with jewels. Each woman registers a somewhat different expression. The most prominent feature of the faces is the eyes, with arched brows. Four of the women look to their left, while the rightmost returns their gaze. In the four women who look to the right, eye color alternates between blue and brown. This pattern of female busts alternating with flowers seems to have been a common decorative trope in Byzantine interior spaces in Egypt and is attested in several media including architectural friezes. Such luxuriously dressed women may represent general ideas of prosperity, luxury, or feminine beauty. Their appearance is reminiscent of the (typically female) personifications of natural elements or beneficent concepts common to Late Antique art, such as the seasons, Earth, Renewal, and Enjoyment. In this particular textile, they may also represent tyche figures or empresses because of their turreted crowns. There are areas of plain woven linen above and below the tapestry band.

  • BONE FRAGMENT

    BONE FRAGMENT

  • Solidus of Leo VI, the Wise

    Solidus of Leo VI, the Wise

    Obv.: Bust of the Virgin facing, orans, wearing tunic and maphorion. Rev.: Bust of Leo VI facing, with long beard, wearing chlamys with elaborate tablion and crown with cross composed of four pellets. In r. hand, globus surmounted by patriarchal cross.

  • Needle

    Needle

  • Trachy of John III Vatatzes, Nikaia

    Trachy of John III Vatatzes, Nikaia

    Obverse: Virgin, nimbate, wearing tunic, and maphorion, seated upon throne with back; holds beardless, nimbate head of Christ on breast. Reverse: Greek inscription, obscured, usually two columns (John Doukas, ruler) Reverse die axis 6 o'clock

  • Seal of Athanasius I, Oecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople

    Seal of Athanasius I, Oecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople

    Obverse: Virgin Platytera seated facing on a large throne with high back, holding the Christ child on her knees. left and right of Virgin's head, text in Greek (Mother of God) Reverse: Greek inscription (Athanasios, by the grace of God Archbishop and Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, the New Rome)

  • Tetarteron of Theodora, Constantinople

    Tetarteron of Theodora, Constantinople

    Obv.: Bust of Christ (Type Vf) facing, with long pointed beard and cross nimbus having • • • in arms, wearig tunic and himation; r. hand raised before breast in blessing, l. holds book from beneath. To l., IC, to r., XC (both overlined). Single border of dots. Rev.: Bust of Theodora facing, wearing crown with cross and pendilia, loros of modified type, with central ornamental strip, and high pearl collar. In r. hand, scepter with pellets, in l., gl. cr. Single border of dots. reverse die axis 6 o'clock

  • Solidus of Michael III, Constantinople

    Solidus of Michael III, Constantinople

    Obv.: Bust facing, wearing loros and crown with pendilia and three pinnacles with central cross. In r. hand, globus surmounted by patriarchal cross; in l., cross scepter. Trace of overstriking to r. Rev.: Two busts facing, Michael on l., wearing loros and crown with cross, holding in r. hand gl. cr.; Thecla on r., larger, wearing loros and crown with pendilia, pinnacles, and cross, holding in r. hand long patriarchal cross.

  • Fragment (of a Hanging?) with Jeweled Border

    Fragment (of a Hanging?) with Jeweled Border

    Plain linen is visible above and below the edges of this brightly colored band. Pairs of water birds flank baskets full of fruit above pink and green garlands. Simulated jewels set against a gold background run along the top edge. At left, a gold cross decorated with blue gems has small human faces between its arms.

  • Fragment with Large Leaf

    Fragment with Large Leaf

    Large tapestry woven dark green leaf with light green, blue, red, and white details. Undyed warps running perpendicular to the design. The tapestry leaf currently sits atop a plain woven linen fabric. The large size of the leaf suggests this is a fragment cut from a hanging or furnishing rather than a garment. Roman and Byzantine hangings and curtains commonly featured large plant motifs that created the sense of an indoor garden and played with the divisions between interior and exterior space.

  • The Virgin of Vladimir with Twelve Scenes from the Legend of the miracles of the Icon of the Virgin of Vladimir

    The Virgin of Vladimir with Twelve Scenes from the Legend of the miracles of the Icon of the Virgin of Vladimir

    1 1/2" border of engraved and repousse silver and gilt.

  • Fragment: Braid Motif

    Fragment: Braid Motif

    Wide band in polychrome wool and linen tapestry is probably a fragment from a large hanging. Its design consists of a simple double filleted border and of a four-strand braid with dots in interstices.

  • Lampstand

    Lampstand

  • Figure of a Man Lying Down

    Figure of a Man Lying Down

  • Solidus of Basil I
  • Miliaresion of Constantine IX with the Meter Theou
  • Implement
  • Hyperperon of Andronikos II
  • Holy Rider Lead Token
  • Lead  Token with Presentation of Mary to Temple
  • Pyxis
  • Solidus of Eudoxia, Constantinople
  • Solidus of Theodosius II, Constantinople
  • Sleeve Band: Personification
  • Lamp or Censer with Scenes from the Life of Christ
  • Polycandelon
  • Miniature Codex Containing
  • Mummy Portrait of a Woman with Earrings
  • Saint Friday
  • One-handled Jug
  • Lamp with Cross-shaped Handle Guard
  • Tetarteron of Michael VII Ducas and Maria of Alania
  • Solidus of Constantine VI and Irene, Constantinople
  • Histamenon of the Augusta Eudokia Makrembolitissa
  • Anonymous Commemorative Coin, Constantinople
  • Spindle
  • Lead Hystera Amulet of Saint Theophano
  • Three-Ounce Weight with Imperial Busts
  • Lead Seal of Anna Doukaina, Sebaste
  • Solidus of Pulcheria, Constantinople
  • Tremissis of Eudoxia, Constantinople
  • Birth of John the Baptist
  • Plaque with a Maenad
  • Spoon
  • Mummy Portrait of a Woman
  • Pectoral Cross-Shaped Reliquary with Saints
  • Follis of Flavia Julia Helena, Antioch
  • Histamenon of John I with the Meter Theou
  • Trachy Nomisma of Andronikos I
  • Histamenon of Romanos IV and Eudokia Makrembolitissa
  • Histamenon of the Augusta Theodora Makrembolitissa
  • Needle
  • Needle
  • Follis (AE3) of Fausta, Ticinum
  • Commemorative Coin of Trier
  • Copper Assarion of John V
  • Amulet with Holy Rider and Virgin Enthroned
  • Miliaresion of Romanos III, Constantinople
  • Seal of the Protoproedros of the Dikaspoloi
  • Solidus of Constantius II, Arelate (Arles)
  • Solidus of the Augusta Aelia Verina, Constantinople
  • Follis of Constantine VI and Irene, Constantinople
  • Solidus weight (exagion) with Busts of Three Emperors and Moneta
  • Solidus of Theophilus, Constantinople
  • Textile Fragment: Duck and Flowers
  • Tunic Fragment: Four Dancers under Arches
  • Roundel: Flourishing Vine
  • Bottle
  • Portrait Head of a Woman
  • Cuff Band: Knot Motif
  • Mirror Disc
  • Miliaresion of Michael VII Doukas and Maria of Alania
  • Solidus of Michael III and Theodora, Constantinople
  • Tetarteron of Romanuos IV and Eudokia Makrembolitissa
  • Tunic Fragment with Birds, Flowers, Lions, and Dancers
  • Hairpin with Decorated Top
  • Fragment of  a Lead Hystera Amulet
  • Seal of Constantine, Nephew of the Patriarch Cerularius
  • Solidus of Pulcheria, Constantinople
  • Follis of Justin II, Constantinople
  • Solidus of Constantine VII, Constantinople
  • Solildus of Valentinian II, Constantinople
  • Textile Fragment: Rabbit
  • Roundel: Personification with Candelabra Plants
  • Roundel with Multicolored Ivy Leaves
  • Polycandelon
  • Jar
  • Lamp with Cross-shaped Handle
  • Textile Fragment: Eight-Pointed Star
  • Two-handled Amphoriskos
  • Roundel: Putto on a Horse
  • Fragments of a Textile Hanging with Female Busts
  • BONE FRAGMENT
  • Solidus of Leo VI, the Wise
  • Needle
  • Trachy of John III Vatatzes, Nikaia
  • Seal of Athanasius I, Oecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople
  • Tetarteron of Theodora, Constantinople
  • Solidus of Michael III, Constantinople
  • Fragment (of a Hanging?) with Jeweled Border
  • Fragment with Large Leaf
  • The Virgin of Vladimir with Twelve Scenes from the Legend of the miracles of the Icon of the Virgin of Vladimir
  • Fragment: Braid Motif
  • Lampstand
  • Figure of a Man Lying Down
On View Harvard University Art Museums