Plaque of The Apparition Of Christ

Northern French (possibly Metz)
Early medieval (Carolingian)
late 9th century

Object Place: Europe, France


7.11 x 5.33 cm (2 13/16 x 2 1/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View





Deep acanthus carved frame; headless Christ standing amid the Apostles, some in full round. Architectural elements in perspective: peaked roof with supporting columns and wall with towers at sides and gate in center. Story is told in the New Testament, Mark 16:14, Luke 24:36-50, and John 20:19-23, this representation deriving from John.

This is in the Reims tradition and a very early representation of this story.

Possibly from the cover of a manuscript.


Possibly Paul Garnier, Paris [see note 1]. By 1935, Henri Garnier, Neuilly and Lille, France [see note 2]; 1943, reported missing from Garnier's collection [see note 3]. 1950, with F. A. Drey, London; 1950, sold by Drey to the MFA for $1800 [see note 4]. (Accession Date: March 9, 1950)

[1] According to a letter from Francis A. Drey to Hanns Swarzenski of the MFA (February 3, 1950). This information has not been substantiated, and whether the Henri Garnier collection was intended is not known.

[2] The ivory was lent from the Garnier collection to the "Exposition de Notre-Dame des Ardents et du Calvaire d'Arras dans l'Art et le Folklore," Chapelle des Religieuses Franciscaines, Arras, June 16-August 1, 1935, cat. no. 157.

[3] When this ivory was acquired in 1950, it was housed in a frame that also contained the enamels accessioned as MFA nos. 50.820 and 50.821a-b. The object was known to have come from the Garnier collection and exhibited at Arras in 1935. However, the MFA was unaware at this time that Henri Garnier reported that it had been stolen from his collection in 1943, as published in the Gazette de l'Hôtel Drouot (February 9, 1944). In a letter to the MFA of December 31, 1965, Mr. Garnier stated that it had been stolen from him during World War II (the exact circumstances of the loss are unclear from the information he provided). By November, 1966, the MFA and Mr. Garnier arrived at a financial settlement, by which ownership of the ivory and enamels was assigned fully to the MFA (letter from MFA director Perry Rathbone to Henri Garnier, November 3, 1966).

[4] MFA accession nos. 50.819, 50.820, and 50.821a-b were purchased together.

Credit Line

William E. Nickerson Fund