Casket with Christian figures

Casket with Christian figures

Casket with Christian figures
1100–1200
Sicily
Museum no. 603-1902

The form and most of the decoration of this large casket are entirely characteristic of the ivory caskets made in Sicily, apart from the prominent figures of Christian saints painted at the front. This may indicate that it was commissioned for use in a church, and in fact this casket used to belong to the treasury of Bari Cathedral, on the south-eastern coast of Italy. The casket also has a long poetic inscription in Arabic, invoking blessings and happiness on the owner, in a manner that is very common on secular works of art made in the Islamic world.