Silver censer from the first Cyprus treasure
Byzantine, AD 602-10
Found west of Kyrenia, Cyprus on the ancient site of Lambousa
A hexagonal hanging censer with portrait medallions
This censer, together with a bowl , a paten, and twenty-four spoons, formed part of a hoard of silver found at the end of the nineteenth century known as the first Cyprus treasure.
Each of the six
sides bears a medallion formed by the branches of palm leaves which
define the edges of the censer. Within each medallion is a
This small vessel, used for burning incense, would have been carried and swung by its three chains, now missing. Incense was introduced into the Christian liturgy after the reign of Constantine the Great, the emperor (306-337) who made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. Open censers like this represent an early form, known from depictions on Early Byzantine mosaics at S. Vitale in Ravenna. They were only rarely made in precious metal. This example can be dated by five control stamps on the bottom, one of which is of the emperor Phocas (602-10).
K. Weitzmann (ed.), Age of spirituality: Late Anti (New York, 1979)
J.P.C. Kent and K.S. Painter (eds.), Wealth of the Roman world, AD (London, The British Museum Press, 1977)
Height: 6.700 cm
Weight: 8.250 oz