Byzantium (Constantinople?)
11th–12th century


Overall: 3.7 cm (1 7/16in.) Diameter: 7 cm (2 3/4in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Silver (93.5% silver, 4.7% copper, 1.1% gold, .7% lead) with niello decoration

Not On View





Two semicircular pieces of silver with rolled edges and wide loops at the ends for clasp and hinge, the latter closed with a silver pin. Hammered, repoussé (from the back and sharpened from the front), engraved, and inlaid with niello. On each piece are four continuous medallions joined by twisted knots and filled with beasts arranged in pairs as mirror images: griffins on one half and lions with tails wrapped around their bodies on the other. The tails of both animals terminate in protrusions resembling half-palmettes. None of the animals is precisely identical to any other, thereby suggesting freehand execution. Framing each piece is a continuous band of engraved spirals in alternating directions filled with niello.


By 1956, private collection, Paris [see note 1]. 1959, J. J. Klejman (dealer; b. 1906 - d. 1995), New York; 1959, sold by Klejman to the MFA for $900. (Accession Date: November 12, 1959)

[1] Published by Marvin C. Ross, "An Emperor's Gift - and Notes on Byzantine Silver Jewelry of the Middle Period," Journal of the Walters Art Gallery 19/20 (1956-1957): 31, fig. 11.

Credit Line

Frederick Brown Fund