Art

Pilgrim Flask with Scenes of St. Menas


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Pilgrim Flask with Scenes of St. Menas
Former Title: Pilgrim Flask
Vessel
Byzantine
,
4th-7th century
Byzantine period, Early
Terracotta
8.5 x 6.8 x 2.3 cm (3 3/8 x 2 11/16 x 7/8 in.)
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Transfer from the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University
, 1978.495.200
Department of Ancient and Byzantine Art & Numismatics
,
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Commentary
Flasks bearing images of Saint Menas are not uncommon in Egypt. Menas was a Roman soldier who was martyred; veneration of him as a saint centered on an oasis near Alexandria. On better-preserved ampullae bearing the same scene, the details of Menas' clothing (tunic, boots, and cloak, perhaps in the style of the later Roman military) are much clearer; the border type varies between the dot/stud motif and chevrons. Some examples bear inscriptions or depictions of crosses above the saint's arms.
Provenance
Transfer from the Peabody Museum, Jan. 10, 1978.
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