Collection online


  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Casket; one of four panels; ivory, carved in relief with the Maries at the Sepulchre: in the middle the sepulchre, a quadrangular building with columns at the corners and surmounted by a cupola with domed roof and round-headed windows; the doors are open showing part of a sarcophagus; the door to the right has a handle in the shape of a lion's head; on its upper panel is carved the scene of the Raising of Lazarus, on the lower, a seated female figure (Mary); on the lower panel of the other door, which is broken, is a similar figure of Martha; to the left and right are seated sleeping soldiers with spears and shields, above them the two Maries with heads on hands in an attitude of grief.


  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 420-430 (circa)
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 75 millimetres
    • Width: 99 millimetres
    • Weight: 109 grammes
  • Curator's comments

    Published: F. Harley McGowan, The Maskell Passion Ivories and Greco-Roman Art, In: J. Mullins, J. Ní Ghrádaigh and R. Hawtree (eds.), Envisioning Christ on the Cross: Ireland and the Early Medieval West, Dublin, 2013, 13-33; K. Weitzmann (ed.), Age of Spirituality (exh. cat.), New York, 1978, no 452; Exh. cat., Spätantike und frühes Christentum (Liebieghaus Museum alter Plastik), Frankfurt, 1983, no 267; D. Buckton, Byzantium: Treasures of Byzantine Art and Culture, London, 1994, no 45 Part of 1856,0623.4-7


  • Bibliography

    • Foletti 2017 bibliographic details
    • Volbach 1976 116 bibliographic details
    • Dalton 1901 291 bibliographic details
    • Buckton 1994 45 bibliographic details
    • Weitzmann 1979 452 bibliographic details
    • Spier et al. 2007 57 bibliographic details
    • Dalton 1909 7 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G41/dc8/sA

  • Exhibition history


    2011 23 June-9 Oct, London, BM, Treasures of Heaven
    2007 18 Nov-2008 30 Mar, USA, Fort Worth, Kimbell Art Museum, Picturing the Bible: The Earliest Christian Art
    2003 7 Dec-2004 2 May, Italy, Milan, Museo Diocesano, Ambrogio e Agostino: le sorgenti dell’Europa
    2000 23 Feb-7 May, London, The National Gallery, Seeing Salvation: The Image of Christ
    1996 30 Mar-13 Nov, Italy, Rimini, Sala dell’Arengo, Dalla Terra Alle Genti
    1995 22 Nov-1996 29 Feb, Germany, Berlin, Schloss Charlottenburg, Die Reise nach Jerusalem
    1983-1984 15 Dec-11 Mar, Germany, Frankfurt, Städtische Galerie Liebieghaus, Late Antiquity and Early Christianity
    1981 27 Feb-4 May, France, Paris, Musee de Luxembourg, A l'Aube de France, la Gaule de Constantin a Childeric
    1980 12 Oct-15 Dec, Germany, Mainz, Gallien in der Spatantike
    1977-1978 18 Nov-12 Feb, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Early Christian Art

  • Condition

    One of the doors and the upper parts of soldier's spears are broken.

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number


COMPASS Title: Panel from an ivory casket: the empty Sepulchre

COMPASS Title: Panel from an ivory casket: the empty Sepulchre

Image description



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Object reference number: MCB2163

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