Stylites were ascetics who lived on platforms atop columns. This movement had practitioners into the nineteenth century, from Mosul in today’s northern Iraq to Gaul in France. Syria was home to large numbers of stylites, including the first stylite, Symeon Stylites the Elder (ca. 389–459). This bottle and example from the Metropolitan Museum of Art were produced from the same or very similar molds. Depicted are a stylite, a cross on a column, a lattice pattern (two sides), and a palm (two sides). Symeon the Elder used oil, water, dust, and hnana (a combination of the three) in his miracles. Pilgrims may have collected these substances in bottles.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition (7th–9th Century)," March 12, 2012–July 8, 2012.