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Enamelled & Filigree Silver Holy Altar Box
Armenia/Ottoman Turkey
18th-19th century

length: 7cm, width: 5.3cm, height: 2.6cm, weight: 61.45g

This small oval-shaped box with a hinged lid is of silver. It is decorated with pearled silver wire filigree, and blue, white and pale green champleve enamel. Most
probably it held incense or perhaps the host and would have adorned a holy altar table of (most probably) a wealthy Armenian and possibly a Georgian home.
It belongs to a rare group of enamelled silver items produced for the Orthodox Armenian of Georgian altar, most probably by Armenian craftsmen.

The lid is decorated with a central figure of May holding the infant Jesus. The sides are decorated with three cartouches chased with
seraphim heads.

The box is in fine condition without losses or repairs.

Examples of Orthodox silver with related enamel-work are illustrated in Hassiotis (2010).

The altar cross here is in excellent condition; enamel losses are minor, and there are no repairs.

References:
Hassiotis, I.K.,
et al., Aspects of Armenian Art: The Kalfayan Collection, Museum of Byzantine Culture, 2010.

Provenance: UK art market

Inventory no.: 5514

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