Exhibitions/ Art Object

Flask with Dancers

5th-8th century
Made in Egypt
Bronze, cast
H: 6 13/16 in (17.3 cm); max. diam.: 3 1/8 in (8 cm)
Credit Line:
Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin—Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst, Berlin (12/79)
Not on view
During both the Byzantine and the Islamic periods, female images signified abundance, fertility, intellectual pursuits, deities, and cities. Women also appear as court entertainers such as dancers, musicians, and courtesans.
Dancers with crotales (handled castanets) appear under the arcades. Each figure twirls her legs and gracefully raises an arm in a pose reminiscent of Dionysian revels. Such figures were popular from the Byzantine into the Islamic era.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition (7th–9th Century)," March 12, 2012–July 8, 2012.