The iconography and stylistic language of this large diptych indicate an origin in Paris, the foremost centre for ivory carving in the 13th and 14th centuries. While the lower register is devoted to the Adoration of the Christ Child, the upper register depicts the end of Christ's life, with the Crucifixion and the Entombment. Stock motifs such as that of the Three Magi, of which variants appear in both late-13th and 14th-century ivories (Gaborit-Chopin, op. cit., pp. 267 and 345), are here given a spacious setting, with a broad arrangement of figures. The specific decoration of the present diptych, combining trefoil arches and rosette borders, is seen in examples dated by Koechlin to the second half of the 14th century (op. cit., nos. 805 and 833). However the classicism of the figural style relates also to carvings from the earlier 14th century; compare a diptych in Oxford and New York (Koechlin, op. cit., no. 234), a panel at the Victoria and Albert Museum (Williamson and Davies, op. cit., no. 58), and a diptych leaf at the Louvre (Gaborit-Chopin, op. cit., p. 344). The present diptych is distinguished by the serene beauty of the figures in the lower register and the attractive remnants of polychromy.
R. Koechlin, Les Ivoires Gothiques Français, Paris, 1924; D. Gaborit-Chopin, Ivoires médiévaux, Ve-XVe siècle, cat. musée du Louvre, Paris, 2003; P. Williamson and G. Davies, Medieval Ivory Carvings: 1200-1550, Part I, cat. Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2014