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Eingehüllt in Gold und Bein – Die techné des Chryselephantin als ›Mitstreit‹ im Mittelalter

Stefan Trinks

Online veröffentlicht:

30 Dec 2016



Gold and ivory were considered to be among the most valuable materials in the Middle Ages. Whereas ivory would represent skin or bone tissue, gold could simultaneously signify and disguise the presence of God. Their iconology is tied to the objects they are attached with, heightening their value. What has not been studied in great depth so far, however, is the range of combinations and the nature of the relationship of both combined as “chryselephantine” in the antique manner. In examples of mostly Carolingian and Ottonian front covers and reliquaries made from gold and ivory between the ninth and eleventh centuries, it is evident that both were treated as equally valuable and that their combination results not in a paragone but a synagon, or aesthetic comradeship.

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