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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.
fair (worn and one handle missing)
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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