Ivory plaque from the front of a casket

Ivory plaque from the front of a casket

Ivory plaque from the front of a casket
About 1020–30; lock-plate re-carved about the 13th century
Cuenca, Spain
Museum no. 4075-1857

In the early 11th century a period of civil war led to the disintegration of central authority from Córdoba, and a number of independent city states established themselves, whose rulers vied with each other to recreate the splendour of Umayyad Córdoba at their courts. One of these new kingdoms was based at Toledo, whose rulers continued to patronise luxurious creations from ivory. This plaque became separated at some point from its original casket, and was later reused in a Christian context, probably as a book cover; a bust of the evangelist St Matthew has been carved into the small rectangle that was originally left plain for the lock-plate.