Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Ampulla (Flask) of Saint Menas

Object Name:
Pilgrim flask
late 6th century–mid 8th century
Made in Egypt, Abu Mena
Earthenware; molded
H. 3 1/4 in. (8.3 cm)
W. 3 in. (7.6 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1927
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 302
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)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Age of Spirituality," November 19, 1977–February 12, 1978, no. 515.

Kaufmann, Carl Maria Dr. "Ausgrabungen der Frankfürter Expedition am Karm Abu Mina 1905–1907." In Die Menasstadt und das National Heiligtum der Altchristlichen Ægypter in der Westalexandrinischen Wüste. vol. I. Leipzig, 1910. no. nos. 9, 10, ill. fig. 93.

Wietzmann, K., ed. "Late Antique and early Christian Art, 3rd–7th century." In Age of Spirituality. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1979. no. 515, p. 576, ill. (b/w).

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