This is one of the largest surviving ivories from the Byzantine Empire. It comes from a hinged 2-leaf diptych, possibly used as a writing table. It shows an archangel holding an orb and sceptre. The style of his drapery is classical, but the Christian subject matter is Byzantine. The ivory's extraordinary size and quality suggest that it was an imperial commission, perhaps by Justinian I (reigned 527-565 CE), a powerful and successful emperor whose patronage stimulated a golden age in Byzantine art. Byzantine, circa 525-550 CE. Made in Constantinople. (The British Museum, London).
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