Covers for a Set of Wax Writing Tablets
4.5 x 2.88 in, each
11.43 x 7.30 cm
Adolph D. and Wilkins C. Williams Fund
The biblical scenes, which appear under trefoil Gothic arches, on these ivory writing-tablet covers depict the birth and childhood of Christ. The series begins at the lower left of one cover, with the Annunciation next to the Visitation. The Adoration of the Magi is depicted above these two. The other cover pictures the Presentation in the Temple above the Flight into Egypt, featuring the apocryphal Miracle of the Wheat Field. Each of these scenes reveals Christ’s life as a fulfillment of prophecy. The figures’ postures on one cover mirror those of the other. The reverse of the covers along with the other “pages” of the tablet have recessed areas filled with a mixture of wax and pitch or resin on which notes could be inscribed with a stylus and then erased by smoothing the wax.