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Ampulla with Scenes of the Crucifixion and the Women at the Tomb

Date:
6th–early 7th century
Geography:
Made in Jerusalem (?)
Medium:
Lead
Dimensions:
Diam: 1 13/16 in. (4.6 cm)
Classification:
Metalwork
Credit Line:
Byzantine Collection, Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C. (BZ.1948.18)
  • Description

    Jerusalem is a holy site for Jews, Christians, and Muslims. For Christians, it is revered as the site of Christ’s death and Resurrection. Since the fourth century, when Emperor Constantine I erected the Holy Sepulchre over Christ’s tomb, Christian pilgrims have thronged there, often acquiring memorials of their visit.
    On this ampulla, two pilgrims kneeling to touch the cross of the crucified Christ evoke the pilgrim’s experience at the Holy Sepulchre. The tomb is depicted as being in the Anastasis Rotunda in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The inscription in Greek, "Oil of the wood of life from the holy sites of Christ," suggests the ampulla contained holy oil.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: [in Greek, surrounding the Crucifixion scene:] Oil of the wood of life from the holy sites of Christ; [above the Women at the Tomb:] The Lord is risen

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