Quatrefoil Plaque of Christ's Descent into Limbo

Upper Rhineland (?)
late 14th century (?)
Maker Unidentified

Object Place: Europe, Upper Rhineland ?


8.6 x 8.1 cm (3 3/8 x 3 3/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Basse-taille enamel and gilding on silver

Not On View





Quatrefoil plaque with four pinholes in a silver molded and tooled frame. Hammered, engraved, enameled, and gilded. Enamel colors are translucent green , lapis blue, mauve, ocher, light brown, turquoise, and grayblue. Faces, limbs, and accessories are in reserve, engraved, and filled with lapis-blue enamel. Christ, draped in a mauve mantle lined with turquoise and holding a crossed staff with a banner in his left hand, stands in three-quarter view. He extends his right arm to wrest Adam (in an ocher tunic) from the mouth of hell. Eve’s head is visible behind Adam. The mouth of hell comprises a snout, a turquoise mane, and turquoise webbed foot or leaf at the right. Green grass fills the bottom third of the plaque; the background above it is lapis blue.


1906, D. Schevitch, Paris; April 4-7, 1906, Schevitch sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, lot 79. Acquired from Seligmann and Co. by Otto H. Kahn (b. 1867 - d. 1934), New York [see note 1]; 1934, to the Mogmar Art Foundation [see note 2]; October 12, 1943, sold by Addie Wolff (Mrs. Otto H.) Kahn (d. 1949), New York, to the Brummer Gallery, New York (stock no. N5600); 1948, sold by Brummer to the MFA for $2000. (Accession Date: March 11, 1948)

[1] According to an inventory of the Mogmar Art Foundation (June 26, 1934) on file at the Getty Research Institute (Duveen Brothers Records, Box 472), cat. no. MAF 31B. At that time it was being kept by Duveen, New York. The Mogmar Art Foundation was a private corporation that kept parts of Kahn's art collection after his death.

Credit Line

1948 Purchase Fund