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Opus Salomonis: Sorting Out Solomon’s Scattered Treasure

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The present contribution discusses the known occurrences of the expression opus Salomonis in medieval art and literature. The goal is to regroup together the textual occurrences presented in the past by various scholars, in order to show how the application of the expression differs across different contexts. Most of these Solomonic references depend on the initial topos of the furnishing of the Temple of Jerusalem but they act in different ways and should be understood according to three main lines of interpretation. The first, which is possible to date around the sixth century CE, depends on a tradition that mentions a series of objects that are literally considered as coming from the treasure of Solomon. The second interpretation, strictly related to the former, but whose earliest mention is an eighth-century source, shows us a shift toward bronze objects that evoke the context of the Temple for their technique of realization. The third reference, probably developed between the twelfth and thirteenth centuries in a French, lay, cultural context, deals instead with the working technique of hard and precious materials, especially ivory.

Affiliations: 1: Kunsthistorisches Institut Via Giuseppe Giusti, 44, 50121 FlorenceItaly


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