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Flask with the Adoration of the Magi

Date:
6th century
Culture:
Byzantine
Medium:
Silver, silver-gilt
Dimensions:
Overall: 12 3/8 x 3 7/8 in. (31.5 x 9.9 cm)
Classification:
Metalwork-Silver
Credit Line:
Purchase, Frederick C. Hewitt Fund, by exchange; Rogers Fund and Schimmel Foundation Inc. Gift; Gifts of J. Pierpont Morgan, Mr. and Mrs. Marc B. Rojtman, Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller Jr., Lucy W. Drexel and Anonymous, by exchange; Bequests of Mary Stillman Harkness, George Blumenthal, Gwynne M. Andrews and Michael Dreicer, by exchange; Theodore M. Davis Collection, Bequest of Theodore M. Davis, by exchange; Rogers Fund, by exchange; and The Cloisters Collection, by exchange, 1984
Accession Number:
1984.196
  • Description

    The archangel Gabriel strides forward, dramatically leading the Three Wise Men bearing gifts for the Christ Child, who is seated in his mother's lap. The only text that describes the archangel as their guide is the Armenian Infancy Gospel, a popular early book elaborating on the Gospel descriptions of Christ's early life. The star that guides the magi to Bethlehem in the Gospel account (Matthew 2:1-12) appears over the Christ Child's head. Flasks like this may have been used as containers in a church. Representations of the magi are frequently represented on early Byzantine art associated with pilgrimages.

  • Provenance

    Mahboubian family(by 1960s); Houshang Mahboubian, London (until 1984); Mahboubian Gallery of Ancient Art(sold 1984)

  • See also
    What
    When
    In the Museum
    MetPublications
466113:7

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