This precious votive crown with rubies and pearls, too small to be ever worn, was made as an offering to a church (presumably in Constantinople) as probably an altar piece. It is believed to be from the late ninth century, which leads us to conclude that the emperor surrounded by apostles is Leo the Wise.

It is said to have been found in Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade, where our Venetian friends helped themselves to yet again to another Byzantine treasure. Once it arrived it Venice it was adapted and remodeled into the base of a small shrine to the Virgin Mary.

Photo credit: The image of the Votive Crown is licensed and used under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 license.

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