Exhibitions/ Art Object

Pyxis with Crosses and Vine Scrolls

7th–8th century
Made in Syria (?)
Ivory with red paint added later
H: 3 3/8 in. (8.5 cm); diam: 2 11/16 in. (6.8 cm)
Credit Line:
Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin—Skulpturensammlung und Museum für Byzantinische Kunst, Berlin (11531)
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.
The vines on this luxury object, carved from a single piece of ivory, grow under a series of arcades. As it was intended for a Christian audience, crosses appear regularly on its surface.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Byzantium and Islam: Age of Transition (7th–9th Century)," March 12, 2012–July 8, 2012.