Flask with the Adoration of the Magi, Silver, silver-gilt, Byzantine

Flask with the Adoration of the Magi

Silver, silver-gilt
Overall: 12 3/8 x 3 7/8 in. (31.5 x 9.9 cm)
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:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 300
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. Depictions of the magi are frequently represented on early Byzantine art associated with pilgrimages.
Mahboubian family(by 1960s); Houshang Mahboubian, London (until 1984); Mahboubian Gallery of Ancient Art(sold 1984)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "One Hundred Fifteenth Annual Report of the Trustees for the Fiscal Year July 1, 1984, through June 30, 1985." Annual Report of the Trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art 115 (1985). p. 43.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Recent Acquisitions, 1985-1986 (Metropolitan Museum of Art) (1986). p. 15.

Husband, Timothy B., and Charles T. Little. Europe in the Middle Ages. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1987. no. 25, p. 35.

Parker, Elizabeth C. "Recent Acquisitions of Medieval Art by American Museums." Gesta 26, no. 1 (1987). p. 80, fig. 5.

Wixom, William D., ed. Mirror of the Medieval World. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1999. no. 44, pp. 35–36.

Evans, Helen C., Melanie Holcomb, and Robert Hallman. "The Arts of Byzantium." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 58, no. 4 (Spring 2001). p. 23.