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Gabled painted polyptych; reliefs in a wooden tabernacle (appliqués) (Front)

Gabled painted polyptych; reliefs in a wooden tabernacle (appliqués) (Front)
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Detail, right wing


Religious. Infancy of Christ.

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Halberstadt, Cathedral treasury (Domschatz)

Inv. 15

Ivory;wood;metal (hinges)

Height: 560mm
Width: 491mm (open); 220mm (closed)

Wings, left
Register 1: Figure of the Church (Ecclesia) holding the model of a church; Visitation; Annunciation with seated Virgin.
Register 2: attendant with horses; adoring Magi (part of Adoration of the Magi continued on the centre panel).
Centre panel
Standing Virgin and Child (Vierge glorieuse); Virgin holding a bird in her right hand; Christ in long robe; Christ standing on the Virgin's left knee; two standing angels holding candlesticks; crown.
Wings, right
Register 1: Nativity with Joseph; figure of Synagogue (Synagoga), blindfolded, holding a broken spear and the tables of the Law.
Register 2: Presentation in the Temple with Simeon to the left; Virgin holding Christ; Joseph holding a candle and a basket of doves brought as offerings.

Koechlin Number: 0166

Westwood 1876: end of the 13th century.
Koechlin 1924: France, mid 14th century.
Flemming, Lehmann, Schubert 1990: Cologne, 14th century.
Museum's opinion 2012: France (Paris), early 14th century.
Williamson and Davies 2014: German, early 14th century.


Two sets of two ring hinges on either side.

Polychromy - Gilding
Extensive original gilding and polychromy: gold, blue, red, green, grey and brown. The wooden tabernacle is fully painted.

Flat and painted green. Painted Annunciation scene in the style of 'a German follower of the Parisian Master Honoré [...] This style was assimilated into German manuscripts and panel paintings in cologne by the first decade of the 14th century' (see Williamson and Davies 2014).

Object Condition
The tabernacle owes its excellent state of preservation to the fact that it was stored in the main altar of the Liebfrauenkirche for centuries.

The base rests on lion paws.

Donated to the Liebfrauenkirche in 1680; found in 1833, stored in the main altar (built in 1681); transferred to Halberstadt Cathedral shortly afterwards.

F. Bock, 'Klapp-Altärchen (pentaptychon) des XIV. Jahrhunderts in wallrosszahn geschnitten', in Mitteilungen der K. K. Central-Commission zur Erforschung und Erhaltung der Baudenkmale 13 (1868), pp. LXXVIII-LXXX.
J. O. Westwood, Fictile Ivories in the South Kensington Museum (London, 1876), Appendix, p. 451.
E. Molinier, Histoire générale des Arts appliqués à l'Industrie (Paris, 1896), I: Les Ivoires, p. 201.
H. Semper, 'Über eine besondere Gruppe elfenbeinerner Klappaltärchen des XIV Jahrhunderts', in Zeitschrift für Christliche Kunst 11 (1898), pp. 113-124, 133-142.
R. Koechlin, Les Ivoires gothiques français (Paris, 1924), I, pp. 34, 130, 133, 136; II, no. 166.
P. Hinz, Gegenwärtige Vergangenheit. Dom und Domschatz zu Halberstadt (Berlin, 1968), p. 218.
J. Flemming, E. Lehmann, E. Schubert, Dom und Domschatz zu Halberstadt (Leipzig, 1990), p. 250, figs. 177-178.
A. Wörner, 'Fragmente eines Marienaltars', in Mittelalterliche Elfenbeinarbeiten aus der Sammlung des Badischen Landesmuseums Karlsruhe, ed. by K.-G. Beuckers (Karlsruhe, 1999), p. 72.
Kostbarkeiten aus dem Domschatz Halberstadt, ed. by B. Pregla, U. Bednarz (Dößel, 2001), pp. 84-85.
K. Weng, 'Zum Marientabernakel im Domschatz zu Halberstadt', in Halberstadt: Dom und Domschatz, ed. by W. Schenkluhn, D. Höhne (Halle an der Saale, 2002), pp. 35-54.
P. Janke, H. Grimm, Der Domschatz zu Halberstadt (Munich, 2003).
Der heilige Schatz im Dom zu Halberstadt, ed. by H. Meller, I. Mundt, B. E. Schmuhl (Regensburg, 2008), pp. 332-333, no. 98 (A. Preiß).
J. Richter, Der Domschatz zu Halberstadt. Führer durch die Ausstellung (Dößel, 2009), pp. 178-179.
P. Williamson and G. Davies, Medieval Ivory Carvings 1200-1550 (London, 2014), pp. 151-153, in relation to no. 46.


© Juraj Lipták, Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologie Sachsen-Anhalt.

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