HEXAGONAL JUG WITH CHRISTIAN SYMBOLS
HEXAGONAL JUG WITH CHRISTIAN SYMBOLS of Nico F. Bijnsdorp
Late 6th – early 7th century AD. Palestinian, probably vicinity of Jerusalem.
H 16.0 cm. D rim 6.3-6.9 cm. W body 7.3 cm. W base 6.7 cm. Weight 138 gr.
Barag JGS 1970: Class A1.
Newby 2008: Jerusalem Series Mold 1, Form 2.
Intact. Surface weathering and pitting. Silvery, dark blue and purple iridescence.
Body mold blown. Neck and mouth free blown. Handle applied and tooled.
Translucent dark amber-brown glass jug. Body with six rectangular panels decorated in sunken relief (intaglio), showing following motifs: (1) cross fourchée above three graduated steps; (2) two concentric lozenges with a cross in the centre and a small circular depression in each of the four corners; (3) cross fourchée on three stepped circular rings; (4) as panel 2 but instead of a cross four small circular depressions as a cross in the centre; (5) small cross standing on a tree trunk, flanked by stylized leaves with an arch above and a small circular depression in each of the two lower corners; (6) as panel 2 but with a circular depression instead of a cross in the centre. Each panel framed by recessed dots. Hollow tubular handle applied to edge of shoulder above upper right corner of panel 5, drawn up- and outwards, folded into a vertical thumb-rest and attached to the edge of the rim. Excess glass folded back along the top of the handle. Wide flaring trefoil mouth with infolded rim. Cylindrical neck gently widening towards slightly sunken shoulder with rounded, overhanging edge. Flat base with pontil mark (12 mm).
Vessels of this type are often called “pilgrim flask”. They appear to have been mass-produced in the vicinity of Jerusalem. They are made for Jews and Christians as a token for pilgrims visiting the holy sites in the Holy Land. The Jewish vessels depict the menorah whereas the Christian vessels are decorated with several types of crosses. Since the vessels for the two religions closely resemble each other in shape and style and differ only in the symbols decorating the body, it is assumed that they were produced in a single workshop.
Newby has recorded 57 jugs from the Jerusalem Series with Christian symbols, almost 80% thereof in brown glass. Mold 1 combined with form 2 is represented by 19 examples. This jug shows the same form of thumb-rest and attachment of the handle to the rim as Newby form 2. However, the handle of Newby form 2 is curved whereas the handle of this jug resembles Newby form 5. Mold 1 in combination with form 5 has not been recorded.
Ex collection of Alexander White III, California, USA, 1960’s.
Bonhams 30 September 2015, No. 96.
Newby 2008, Shlomo Moussaieff Collection, No. 18. , Sothebys 20 June 1990, Breitbart Collection, No. 111. , Whitehouse 2001, Corning Museum, No. 593 (without thumb-rest). , Stern 1995, Toledo Museum, No. 169 (without thumb-rest).