Fragment of a Sarcophagus with Putti in a Grapevine
Overall: 14 7/8 x 22 3/4 x 4 3/4 in. (37.8 x 57.8 x 12.1 cm)
Fletcher Fund, 1924
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 300
Vines that supported grape-plucking putti, or figures of children, and baskets full of the fruit on late Roman sarcophagi often refer to Dionysos, god of wine, and his promise of a blessed afterlife. Christians adopted the motif to represent a biblical passage (John 15:5)-I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit-and as a reference to the wine of the Eucharist.
Beeson, Nora B., ed. Guide to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1972. no. 3, p. 210.