Offered by Emmanuel Soubielle Works of Art
Sculpture and works of art
French, mid-14th century.
H. 8 cm x 4,2 cm
Wax writing tablets, or panels of a hard material filled with layers of wax that could be inscribed with a stylus, were common in Antiquity, and continued in use throughout the early Middle Ages. Given their portability, the lack of need for ink, and the fact that their surfaces could be erased or reused, they were particularly suitable for note-taking and are often shown being used for this purpose in the miniatures of medieval manuscripts.
The front face shows the Crucifixion under a triple arcade with trefoiled and crocketed gables. To the left stands the Virgin, holding a book in her right hand and gesturing towards Christ with her left. To the right of the Cross is St John the Evangelist, holding a book in his right hand and clasping the side of his face in grief with his left. The back is carved with a raised border creating a rectangular depression to receive wax.
Comparable models :
Catalogue Les fastes du gothique, le siècle de Charles V, 1981 : cat. 155
Williamson P.& Davies G., Medieval ivory carvings in the V&A Museum, volume I : cat. 123 (see illustration), cat. 128.
Warren J., Medieval and renaissance sculpture in the Ashmolean Museum, volume 2 : cat. 176 (see illustration)