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pilgrim flask

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Grey-brown pottery pilgrim-flask with circular body, short neck and two handles. On side (a), within a narrow sunken border, Saint Menas stands to front, his arms outstretched in blessing. Above each arm is a cross. He has curly hair, wears a short tunic and a long cloak, and is flanked by camels. On side (b), set at an angle to the vertical, is a large wreath with small circles at the top and bottom, surrounding a cross. Mould-made, one side joined to the other slightly twisted; the mouth is damaged and the whole is very worn.


  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 480-650 (circa)
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 8.4 centimetres (max)
    • Width: 6.1 centimetres (max)
    • Thickness: 2 centimetres (max)
  • Curator's comments

    Terracotta IV
    Purchased from the Earl of Belmore.

    Late Roman, about AD 480-650.

    Comparanda: Sides (a) and (b): very close: Kiss 1989a: no. 21, from Kom el-Dikka, Alexandria, context of AD 560-610.
    Side (a): close to: Ede n.d.a: 159, lot 29, dated sixth to seventh century AD; Habib n.d.: [11], dated sixth to seventh century AD. Near: Empereur 1998b: 629, fig. 30, from a tomb at Gabbari, Alexandria; Kiss 1989a: no. 17, from Kom el-Dikka, Alexandria, context of AD 560-610.
    Side (b): near: Kaufmann 1908: 70, fig. 50, a mould from Abu Mena; Kiss 1989a: no. 38, from Kom el-Dikka, Alexandria, context of AD 600-620.

    Bibliog: Nesbit 1873: 330; probably Belmore 1843: pl. 3:103.


  • Bibliography

    • Terracotta 3432 bibliographic details
  • Condition

    fair (very worn and neck damaged)

  • Conservation

    See treatments 

    Treatment date

    8 June 1999

    Reason for treatment


    Treatment proposal

    Remove surface dust and check for pigment


    Some surface dust and dirt, encrustation. Ceramic has a white deposit over the surface between the moulded decoration and may be soft and vulnerable to scalpel blades

    Treatment details

    The white deposit/pigment and the ceramic are both soft and vulnerable to scalpel blades. Surface cleaned of dust and soil with a soft brush and Wishab sponge (vulcanized latex,filler)

    About these records 

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Ancient Egypt & Sudan

  • BM/Big number


  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • BS.5231 (Birch Slip Number)


If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: collectiondatabase@britishmuseum.org 

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Object reference number: YCA68813

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