Pyxis with Vine Scrolls
Made in Syria (?)
Ivory; metal rim around lid added later
H: 3 3/4 in. (9.5 cm); diam: 3 9/16 in. (9 cm)
Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin—Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst, Berlin (2977)
Not on view
Indicative of social status, these three circular, bellied-shape ivory boxes were luxury objects produced for the elite. Each is decorated with vine scrolls springing from pots, a Byzantine motif drawn from the world of the classical god Dionysos that was also popular during the early Islamic period.
This box, densely covered with vine scrolls growing from pots, would have been acceptable to any community living in the eastern Mediterranean.