Enamel Pyx

  • Limoges
  • ca. 1275
  • Champlevé copper and enamel cylindrical pyx and cone lid
  • Diameter: 3 in / 7.60 cm; height 4 in / 10 cm

Generally very good condition for age, only small loss to enamel under one lid hinge; one hinge broken, short and both hinge pins long gone; the top knob of lid of a type found elsewhere carrying a cross or small figure, although often bare as here.

Enamel Pyx, Limoges
Enamel Pyx, Limoges

A good example of late 13th century enamel work from or under the immediate influence of Limoge ateliers. There are three types of decorative motifs on the cylinder: a background pattern of small black crosses on a copper-colored base on both the cylinder and lid; white rinceaux on the lid, complete save for a few small touches of cold white repair; and on the cylinder three round white framed medallions of heraldic emblems of a cross, a star and a fleur de lis in bright white, red, blue and green enamels.

A date in the later 13th century is fixed by comparison of the proportion of the cylinder’s height to width and the conic rise of the lid. The general decorative program of medallions and surrounding parerga follows a generic pattern with varying specific emblems seen in a number of pyxes from later 13th century Limoge, for which cf. Ernest Rupin, Le Oeuvre de Limoge, Paris, 1890 (and reprinted editions), pp. 204 – 266, particularly nos. 260-265 and 268.