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ID number:  BIRBI-49.6
Institution:  The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Artist / Maker:  French
Title / Object name:  Christ in Majesty with symbols of the Four Evangelists
Object type:  Art object
Place made:  Limoges, France
Culture:  French
Date made:  12th century
Materials:  Champlevé enamel on metal
Measurements:  58.9 x 26.4 cm
Provenance:  Sir C.H. Tempest; Dr. Phillip Nelson, Liverpool; F.A. Drey; purchased from F.A. Drey, London, February 1949, for £800
BIRBI-49.6.jpg

This piece was made in Limoges in south-central France as the back central plaque of a bookbinding. The imagery contains references to books – the central Christ figure holds a large volume and the two winged creatures at the bottom clutch red bound books. Champlevé is an ancient enamelling technique in which troughs are carved, etched or cast into the surface of a metal object, and filled with vitreous enamel. Vitreous enamel, also known as porcelain enamel, is a material made by fusing powdered glass to a substrate by firing. This technique allows the metalworker to create brightly coloured images and was one of the most common techniques in the medieval period. During the first half of the 12th century, under the patronage of local abbeys, craftsmen around Limoges began to perfect the technique. Limoges subsequently became famous for the production of champlevé enamels, which were regarded as luxury items.

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