Ivory depicting the Last Judgement

Ivory depicting the Last Judgement

Ivory depicting the Last Judgement
Probably 700s
Probably England
Width 8 cm x height 14.5 cm
Museum no. 253-1867

This panel is carved on both sides. This side shows scenes related to the Last Judgement, the final and absolute judgement of God on each person. A beardless Christ, with a halo behind his head, is seated and holds two scrolls. Either side of him three angels are blowing trumpets. Below his feet a haloed angel stands on a crescent, and the dead can be seen rising from their tombs to be judged. Those who are saved are received into heaven by a angel, but the damned huddle in hell.

The inscription on the scroll in Christ's right hand relates to Matthew's Gospel (Chapter 25: Verse 34). The full sentence from which the inscription comes reads: 'Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.'

The place of origin of this small ivory plaque and the date of carving has been debated. Within a hundred years of its creation, it was in mainland Europe where the reverse was carved.