Ampullae like this one were used by pilgrims to bring home water or oil from the great pilgrimage site for Saint Menas, said to be a late-third-century Egyptian Roman soldier who was martyred for his Christian faith. He is shown between the two camels who returned his body to Egypt for burial.
Count Grigory Sergeievich Stroganoff, Palazzo Stroganoff, Rome (until d. 1910); his daughter, Princess Maria Grigorievna Scerbatov, Palazzo Stroganoff, Rome (from 1910); Elia Volpi, Florence (until 1927; his sale, American Art Association, NewYork, March 31–April 1, 1927, to MMA)
Evans, Helen C., and Brandie Ratliff, ed. Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012. p.87, ill. fig. 38 (color).