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A work made of ivory, brass, tempera, and gold leaf.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of ivory, brass, tempera, and gold leaf.


12th century


Italian; Sicily

About this artwork

This type of ornately painted ivory casket survived in relatively large numbers in church treasuries. Judging from their Arabic inscriptions, which contain wishes for happiness, blessings, or glory, it is likely that many of them were originally intended for secular use as wedding gifts or jewelry boxes. However, they were often later used as reliquaries. Here traces of an inscription on the front rim and cover read, “May glory endure”. This box was probably made on the island of Sicily, an important crossroads of Mediterranean trade.


On View, Gallery 236


Applied Arts of Europe




Sicily (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Ivory, brass, tempera, and gold leaf


9.5 × 15.9 × 9.7 cm (3 3/4 × 6 1/4 × 3 13/16 in.)

Credit Line

Samuel P. Avery Endowment

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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