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Currently on view at: Getty Villa, Gallery 212, Late Antiquity
Belt with Central Medallion
Roman Empire (Place Created)
about A.D. 379–395
Gold, enamel, sapphire, emerald, garnet, and glass
79.1 cm (31 1/8 in.)
This ornate belt is composed of three elements: a central ornament, connecting links, and an adjustable hook fastening. A roughly circular gold setting forms the central medallion, which consists of a large triangular sapphire surrounded by emeralds, garnets, and green glass. Three pendant chains, now missing their original pearls, hang from the medallion. The back of the gold setting is decorated with a repoussé acanthus rosette. The connecting links of the belt are formed by twenty-three square gold settings holding gold coins framed by green glass. The coins were issued by several emperors in the late 300s A.D., the latest being issued by Theodosius I, who ruled from A.D. 379 to 395; they come from various mints in the eastern portion of the Roman Empire, probably indicating an eastern origin for the belt. Coins used for jewelry, especially pendants, became popular in the 200s A.D. Coin belts, however, were not common, and this is one of the earliest known examples.
Robin Symes, Limited (London, England), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1983.
The Screw Between Power and Splendor (April 8 to October 29, 1995)
- Museum Würth (Künzelsau), April 8 to July 16, 1995
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Ancient Art from the Permanent Collection (March 16, 1999 to May 23, 2004)
- The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 16, 1999 to May 23, 2004
Otto the Great and the Roman Empire: Emperorship from Antiquity to the Middle Ages (August 27 to December 9, 2012)
- Kulturhistorisches Museum (Magdeburg), August 27 to December 9, 2012
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Würth, Reinhold and Deppert-Lippitz, Barbara, eds. Die Schraube zwischen Macht und Pracht. Das Gewinde in der Antike. Exh. cat. (Sigmaringen: Thorbecke, 1995), 164, no. E.1.
Quast, Dieter. "Garnitures de ceintures mediterraneennes a plaques cloisonnees des Ve et debut VIe siecles," Antiquites Nationales 31 (1999), pp. 233-250, pp. 239-40; figs. 11-12 See also ext. 83.AM.224.6.
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The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Antiquities Collection. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010), pp. 204-205.
Puhle, Matthias, and Gabriele Köster, eds. Otto der Grosse und das Römische Reich. Kaisertum von der Antike zum Mittelalter, exh. cat. (Magdeburg: Kulturhistorisches Museum Magdeburg, with Schnell & Steiner, 2012), pp. 269-70, fig. 2.34, entry by Yvonne Petrina.
Puhle, Matthias, and Gabriele Köster, eds. Otto the Great and the Roman Empire. Emperorship from Antiquity to the Middle Ages. Brief Guide (Magdeburg: Kulturhistorisches Museum Magdeburg, with Schnell & Steiner, 2012), p.43, no. 23.