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Salamander, Italy 10th century
Salamander, Italy 10th century - Sculpture Style Middle age Salamander, Italy 10th century - Salamander, Italy 10th century - Middle age Antiquités - Salamander, Italy 10th century
Ref : 97548
18 000 €
Period :
BC to 10th century
Medium :
Dimensions :
l. 22.05 inch X H. 12.2 inch X P. 8.27 inch
Sculpture  - Salamander, Italy 10th century BC to 10th century - Salamander, Italy 10th century Middle age - Salamander, Italy 10th century Antiquités - Salamander, Italy 10th century
Seghers & Pang Fine Arts

Haute Epoque & Chinese Ceramics

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Salamander, Italy 10th century

Massive stone tympanum depicting a salamander with a fire under its belly. Italy, marble, 9th-10th century. In the paleochristian and Romanesque iconography the salamander was the symbol for righteousness and for the just. In the Old Testament, in the Book of Daniel, we can read the story of 3 youths who refused to bow for the idols of Nebuchadnezzar: “King Nebuchadnezzar set up a golden image in the plain of Dura and commanded that all his officials bow down before it. All who failed to do so would be thrown into a blazing furnace. Certain officials informed the king that the three Jewish youths Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, who bore the Babylonian names Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and whom the king had appointed to high office in Babylon, were refusing to worship the golden statue. The three were brought before Nebuchadnezzar, where they informed the king that God would be with them. Nebuchadnezzar commanded that they be thrown into the fiery furnace, heated seven times hotter than normal, but when the king looked he saw four figures walking unharmed in the flames, the fourth "like a son of God." Seeing this, Nebuchadnezzar brought the youths out of the flames and promoted them to high office, decreeing that anyone who spoke against God should be torn limb from limb.”.
As salamanders were associated with deserts and extremely hot weather, it was believed that they could withstand fire. Hence, out of analogy with the story of the Book of Daniel and the 3 youths that emerged unharmed from the fiery furnace, it became symbol of those who are just and righteous.
This tympanum would, therefore, have been above the door or entrance of a person who deemed himself just. The square opening in the centre might have held an iron cross. No cracks, no restorations. On a stand. Dimensions (without stand): 56x31x21cm. With its Italian export license. Heavy.

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Seghers & Pang Fine Arts


Stone Sculpture Middle age