Caskets of Silver and Ivory from Diverse Parts of the World: Strategic Collecting for an Iberian Treasury
figureposted on 06.05.2019 by Therese Martin
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By focusing on San Isidoro de León in the central Middle Ages, this study investigates the multiple meanings behind the presence of objects from other cultures in a royal-monastic treasury, suggesting a reconsideration of the paths by which such pieces arrived. The development of the Isidoran collection is reexamined through a close analysis of a charter recording the 1063 donation together with early thirteenth-century writings by Lucas of Tuy. Documentary evidence is further weighed against visual analysis and technical studies of several key pieces From the medieval collection. In particular, the Beatitudes Casket (now at the Museo Arqueológico Nacional, Madrid) is singled out to demonstrate how art historical, epigraphic, and historical re-search come together with carbon-14 testing, revealing that this object was assembled in a very different moment from those traditionally assumed.