Lapis lazuli eagle
Date: Fourth or fifth century
Location or Findspot (Modern-Day Country): Italy
Medium: Lapis lazuli
Dimensions: 10.5 × 6.6 × 4.6 cm
Description: This carved lapis lazuli eagle may once have been the top of an imperial scepter/staff, as depicted in Antique emblems of authority (e.g., the first-century sardonyx cameo of Augustus on the Lothar Cross) and imperial imagery of the Middle Ages (e.g., the image the emperor enthroned from the Gospels of Otto III). Lapis lazuli was a highly valued stone that had to be mined in Afghanistan for export across the Mediterranean.
Relevant Textbook Chapter(s): 1, 2, 6
Repository and Online Resources: • See this object on the website of the Walters Art Museum.