VIII-IX Century Early Middle Ages Lombard Carved Alabaster Font


The Lombards (in Latin, Langobardi then Lombardi after the 8th century except in southern Italy which will keep the name of Langobardi until the 12th century) were a Germanic people come from the Baltic, belonging more precisely to the group of the Germans of the Elbe but originally from southern Scandinavia according to their own oral tradition reported by their historian Paul Deacon at the end of the 8th century. These people, under the leadership of their king Alboïn, invaded Italy in 568 until the end of the 11th century.

The Lombards introduced their own artistic tradition, marked with a Germanic imprint, even if it had itself already been influenced by Byzantine elements during their long stay in Pannonia (mid century). This imprint remained visible for a long time, especially in the ornamental elements of art (symbolism, phytomorphic or zoomorphic decorations). Following their sedentarization in Italy, it was a vast process of fusion which took shape, between the Germanic element and that of Latin-Byzantine, which gave birth to an ever more homogeneous society, and which quickly emerged as properly “Italian” . In such a context, the term Lombard art refers to the entire artistic production created in Italy during the Lombard domination, mainly in the seventh and eighth centuries, therefore regardless of the ethnic origin (often difficult to establish) of the various participants.

These characteristics are visible in the holy water font: the hollowed out bulb with a geometric striped pattern typically Lombard; the figure of Christ, purely two-dimensional; the presence, on the left of Christ, of the peacock, typically Palaeochristian symbol of the resurrection and the eternal life, spread in Italy during the Leutprandian Renaissance, period of maximum flowering of Lombard art.

Under the bulb, you can still see the sign of an old hook that was used to hang it on the wall. The bulb is beautifully preserved, with a beautiful patina. On the other hand, the cross above the bulb underwent alterations over time which mainly concerned the figure of Christ: it had probably been damaged so in an undefined historical period it was reshaped; at the points where this type of treatment has generated gaps, there are old restorations. Then, stylized drawings were added later. However, this is the story of this holy water font, a story that we cannot delete because it is an integral part of its value.


H cm 26
L cm 13.5

1 in stock


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