Ancient Glass Blog of The Allaire Collection

BYZANTINE JUG INVOKING ST. SABAS

Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on May 29, 2016

BYZANTINE JUG DEDICATED TO ST. SABAS of Nico F. Bijnsdorp

6th – 7th century AD. Eastern Mediterranean, probably Syrian.
H = 19.1 cm. W body = 6.0 cm. D rim = 6.0-6.5 cm. W base 5.0 cm. Weight 152 gr.

Condition: Intact. Few stress cracks. Small areas of incrustation.

Technique: Body mold blown, mouth and neck free blown. Applied handle.

Description: Transparent natural green, bubbly glass with stone and black speck inclusions. Similarly colored translucent handle. Rectangular body with four panels, decorated with designs in crisp relief. Panel 1 and 2: each with Greek inscription in two registers; panel 3 with two confronted birds (doves?) with a conical object between them; panel 4 with diamond pattern (lattice). Decoration on panels 1, 2 and 3 vertical with right border downside. Concave base with pontil mark 1,2 cm in diameter. Overhanging shoulder gently tapering to flared funnel mouth with rim rounded and thickened in flame. A thick trailed handle applied to the shoulder above panel 2, drawn up and down and wrapped around the neck.

Remarks: This is an extraordinary rare vessel, dedicated to Saint Sabas. The only known parallel is in the Toledo Museum. It was blown in the same mold but has a different mouth and handle. St. Sabas (439-532) was an important hermit in Orthodox Christianity, who became an Abbot and subsequently Archimandrite of all monasteries of Palestine. René Mouterde was the first one to translate the inscription which reads: “Father Saint Sabas, be favourable, help us the 15th day of Daisios 802”. According to the Sasanian calendar the year 802 would be AD 490. Possibly the inscription was referring to Sabas as a living person, which then would be quite unique.

Provenance: Ex collection of Mr David and Mrs Jenny Giles, London 2014.
Ex collection of Stephen Shalom, New York 1977.

Published: Timeless Treasures, Foruna Fine Arts, New York 2010.

References: Stern 1995, Toledo Museum, No. 191., Jalabert 1959, No. 2468.

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