Lot 731

A rare early Christian partially gilded silver vase, 5th - 6th century

Works of Art, Asiatica, Antiquities | A90kua | Live auction | 876 Lots


Silver vase of high artistic quality, elaborately decorated with early Christian symbols. Large and small medallions interconnected centrally around the belly. The smaller ones filled with crosses, in the larger ones alternating the Chi-Rho (with Alpha and Omega), a sheep and a peacock. The symbols are worked in half relief against a gilded background. The Chi-Rho was the major and widely used Christian symbol from the 4th century onwards. The sheep possibly refers to Jesus, the "agnus dei". In early Christian times, the peacock still had a positive connotation: it was considered a bird of paradise and a symbol of heaven, bliss and happiness. The view was widespread that its flesh would not decay, and so it symbolised resurrection and immortality. A gilded geometric ornament at the foot and at the transition from the shoulder to the neck. Intact with few abrasions only. On the underside of the foot ring an antique notch, probably for material testing. Height 30.5 cm. Maximum diameter approx. 16 cm. Weight 1114 g.
The vessel compares closely with high-ranking silver vessels of late antique toreutics.

Provenance: From a South German classical philologist's collection, put together during the 1950s and 1960s. Remaining thereafter in the family estate.

Condition: II Questions about the lot?

General Information

The auction starts on Monday, Nov. 22, 2021 at 10 am (CET). Lot no. 1 - 879. The pre-sale view will take place from 15 - 20 Nov. 2021 in our auction rooms at Bretonischer Ring 3 in 85630 Grasbrunn / Munich from 11 am to 5 pm (CET).