The Christian apostle John wrote the Book of Revelation toward the end of the 1st century as a vision of Christ’s triumph over the oppression and corruption of the Roman emperors. As illustrated in this plaque, in the top right corner, the Four Horses of the Apocalypse and their riders, personified as female figures, make a triumphant entrance above a rainbow that crosses the sky. One rider holds an olive branch and another holds a flag. They are accompanied by putti who blow a trumpet, carry a torch and hold a broken chain. An alternate interpretation is that the chariots represent a vision described in book of the Hebrew prophet Zechariah 6:1-8 of “four chariots harnessed to horses of various colors…representing the four winds of heaven, which leave after presenting themselves to the Lord, in order to fulfill their task on earth (Jewish Virtual Library).” The middle portion appears to represent the battle between a band of angels, led by the angel Michael, and a group of demonic fallen angels accompanied by Satan, leader of the rebellion against God. At the bottom of the plaque, earthquakes predicted in Revelation break apart buildings on the right and swallow people into fissures in the earth on the left. A serpent hissing from the rocks in the lower left might be a representation of Satan as the dragon. Two distant figures — perhaps representing the righteous believers awaiting the return of Christ — stand undisturbed watching as the other writhing people disappear into the hellish ground.
Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall light wear, oxidation. Some light bending and crimping. Some detail of figures worn, probably from polishing over time. Brass nicely naturally patinated. Remnant of post in the center of the back.
“New Testament of the Bible: Summary and Analysis, The Book of Revelations.” Cliff Notes. 2014. http://www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/n/new-testament-of-the-bible/summary-and-analysis/the-book-of-revelation (7 July 2015).
“Zechariah.” Jewish Virtual Library. 1998-2018. http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/zechariah-4 (6 February 2018).