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In Focus

The following objects represents a selection of topical, unusual or interesting records from our collection. These records have been selected by our team of curators.

ID number:  BIRBI-R2481
Title / Object name:  Antoninianus
Category:  Numismatics
Object type:  Coin
Artist / Maker:  Diocletian (284-305)
Place made:  Mint of Lugdunum
Date made:  287-288

Obverse: Bust of Emperor Diocletian in cuirass and paludamentum (military cloak). On his head is a radiate crown.
Reverse: Jupiter seated, holding victory in his right hand and a staff in his left.

Emperor Diocletian restored the fortunes of the Roman Empire after half a century of short lived emperors and military revolts. Jupiter, king of the gods was the patron god of Diocletian, who took the name Jovis. By depicting Jupiter on his coins Diocletian affirmed this association.   [More Info]

ID number:  BIRBI-46.8
Title / Object name:  The Harvest Wagon
Category:  Visual art
Object type:  Painting
Artist / Maker:  Gainsborough, Thomas (1727-1788)
Date made:  exhibited 1767

A group of rustic figures travel in a harvest wagon at the end of the working day. The figures are unusually prominent for Gainsborough’s landscapes and are the result of careful study. Two of the women are based on the artist’s daughters whilst the landscape is inspired by the beautiful countryside around Bath where Gainsborough lived.
Unlike his commissioned portraits, Gainsborough painted such landscapes for his own pleasure or as a speculation. This picture was given to his patron and friend Walter Wiltshire when the artist moved to London in 1774, as thanks for the presentation of the grey horse shown here.   [More Info]

ID number:  BIRRC-D0393(1-6)
Title / Object name:  Indigo dyed cotton textiles (Adire)
Category:  Textiles
Object type:  Textile
Artist / Maker:  Unknown
Place made:  W. Nigeria

Collection of six pieces of 'adire' cloth:
(1) 'Adire oniko': stitched type (alabere). Plantain pattern. Made from two lengths of machine-woven cotton stitched together after dying. (Rufflette tape along one edge.) 141 x 177 cm
(2) 'Adire oniko': stitched and tied type. Single length of machine-woven cotton. (Rufflette tape along one edge.) 185 x 83.5 cm
(3) 'Adire eleko': cassava starch resist / painted type. Pattern of squares containing various motifs, some geometric and others representational. Made from two lengths of machine woven cotton stitched together after dying. (Rufflette tape along one edge.) 194 x 170 cm
(4) 'Adire eleko': cassava starch resist. Stencil type. 'Oloba' pattern, with lions and Muhammmad's winged horse, al-Buraq. Made from two lengths of machine-woven cotton stitched together after dying. 170 x 157 cm
(5) 'Adire eleko': similar to D0393-3. 168 x 183 cm
(6) 'Adere oniko': stitched-type (alabere). 162 x 82 cm
These items were lent to the University of Birmingham by John Danford in 1964 and purchased in 1975.   [More Info]

ID number:  ECM 1558
Title / Object name:  Triad Amulet
Object type:  Amulet
Date made:  26th Dynasty (664-525 BC)

Amulet depicting Harpocrates (Horus-the-Child) flanked by his mother Isis and her sister Nephthys. The goddesses wear their distinctive headdresses while Harpocrates has a side-lock on the right of his head. The goddesses are wearing close fitting ankle length dresses indicated by lines above their feet.Damage can be seen on the legs of Isis, whilst the left arm of Nephthys is also broken. A suspension loop is located in the upper centre on the reverse of the amulet.   [More Info]

ID number:  BIRUG 14767
Title / Object name:  Chalcedony
Category:  Mineralogy
Object type:  Oxide

One cut and polished surface.
The collection of William Murdock, dated in his inventory as 12.1826.   [More Info]