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Pottery pilgrim-flask with circular body, short neck and only one handle surviving, the exterior is very worn. On side (a), within a border of studs, Saint Menas stands to front, his arms raised in blessing. He has curly hair and a nimbus, wears a short tunic and a long cloak, and is flanked by camels. On side (b), within a wreath-border and with three small studs below, is an relief inscription. Buff fabric, with some grains of sand.
- 480-650 (circa)
- Found/Acquired: Egypt
- Height: 8.9 centimetres (max)
- Width: 6.6 centimetres (max)
- Thickness: 2.5 centimetres (max)
Inscription Positionone face
Inscription TranslationBlessings of St Mena.
Inscription CommentStamp: three lines of Greek text surrounded by a wreath.
Purchased: from the Smyrna merchant H.P. Borrell.
Late Roman, about AD 480-650.
Comparanda. Side (a): close, perhaps from same mould-series, but mould retouched: Kiss 1989a: nos 9 and probably 10, from Kom el-Dikka, Alexandria, context of AD 480-560; also Heide and Thiel 2004: 145, no. iii.3.20, dated end of fifth to middle of seventh century AD. See also ibid.: 145, no. iii.3.21 and 22.
Side (b): near: ibid.: 145, no. iii.3.20 and 21; Kaufmann 1908: 70, fig. 50, a mould from Abu Mena.
Bibliog Sotheby's 'Sale Catalogue', 26 August 1852: lot 1519.
Not on display
fair (worn and one handle missing)
9 June 1999
Reason for treatment
Surface dust only, take care of white pigment
Surface dust over a white bloom or pigment on surface.
Surface cleaned of dust with low pressure jet of air under magnification to check surface, and Wishab sponge (vulcanized latex,filler) so as not to disturb the white surface. Very little encrustation on this vessel which was left in place
Lot 1519 at sale. Acquisition details unclear in MLA acquisition register.
Ancient Egypt & Sudan
- BS.5232.a (Birch Slip Number)
Light-brown pottery pilgrim-flask with circular body, short neck and only one handle surviving, the exterior is very worn, one face is elaborated with a stamped representation of St Menas within a beaded border and the other with a Greek text within a wreath.
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Object reference number: YCA68820
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