- Museum number
- Object: The Projecta Casket
Casket; truncated rectangular pyramid with isosceles trapezoids; silver with gilding; lid decorated with five panels containing three related mythological scenes - including Venus bathing, a Nereid riding a hippocampus and ketos on right and left side of lid respectively, two portraits enclosed by two standing, nude Erotes on top panel; back panel depicts an architectural setting containing six figures 'the bath procession'; the body panels follow similar themes depicting characters framed by columns and arches; restored. Christian inscription on rim of lid.
- Production date
- 380 (circa)
Height: 28.60 centimetres
Length: 33.20 centimetres (At base)
Length: 56 centimetres (Longest point)
Weight: 8200 grammes
Width: 23.40 centimetres (At base)
Width: 48.80 centimetres (Widest point)
- Curator's comments
Published: A. Cameron, 'The date and owners of the Esquiline treasure: the nature of the evidence', American Journal of Archaeology 89 (1985), 135-45; K. Shelton, 'The Esquiline treasure: the nature of the evidence', American Journal of Archaeology 89 (1985), 147-55; Exh. cat. Milano capitale dell'impero Romano 286-402d.C. Milano - Palazzo Reale 24 gennaio-22 aprile 1999, Milan, 1990, no 1g.1d.1, p. 81; J. Elsner, Roman Eyes: Visuality and Subjectivity in Art and Text (Princeton, 2007), 200-24.
For metallurgical analyses of all the objects from the treasure see: M.J. Hughes and J.A. Hall, "X-ray Fluorescence Analysis of Late Roman and Sassanian Silver", Journal of Archaeological Science 6 (1979), pp. 321-44.
The decoration of the casket suggests that it was a toilet casket given as a wedding present. It has long attracted interest because of its combination of mythological scenes and the Christian inscription: 'Secundus and Projecta, live in Christ'.
- On display (G41/dc7)
- Exhibition history
2012-2013 11 Nov-25 Aug, USA, Art Institute of Chicago, Tradition Transformed: Late Roman and Early Byzantine Treasures from the British Museum
2009 20 May-21 Sep, Musee de Cluny, Paris, France, 'Le Bain et le Miroir. Soins du corps et cosmetiques de l'Antiquite au Moyen Age.'
2008 25 Oct-2009 22 Mar, London, Royal Academy of Arts, Byzantium 330-1453 AD
2007 2 Jun-4 Nov, Germany, Trier, Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Constantine the Great
1998 9 Feb-3 May, India, Mumbai, Sir Caswasjee Jahangir Hall, The Enduring Image
1997 13 Oct-1998 5 Jan, India, New Delhi, National Museum, The Enduring Image
1996 30 Mar-13 Nov, Italy, Rimini, Sala dell’Arengo, Dalla Terra Alle Genti
1977-1978 18 Nov-12 Feb, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Early Christian Art
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number