Ancient Glass Blog of The Allaire Collection

BYZANTINE PENDANT WITH LION AND GREEK INSCRIPTION

Posted in Uncategorized by Allaire Collection of Glass on March 17, 2017

PENDANT WITH LION AND GREEK INSCRIPTION

The Augustinus Collection of Ancient Glass


Mid-4th. to early 6th. century. A.D.

 Egypt,  Post-roman or possibly Byzantine period

 H: 2.2 cm W: 1.9 cm  Th: 0.32 cm, Th loop:0.4 cm

 

Technique: stamped; large loop applied; flattened backside.

Description: Walking lion with straight manes, descending to the right; vague text of  four greek letters, placed between the loop and the lion, not in reverse, most likely : έισ θ(εοσ), (h)eis and th(eos) , that can be translated as: ‘one god’.

Condition: Roughly circular disk of opaque yellow-white glass; at the top left side a small chip is missing as it is for the right lower side; silvery iridescence on all high relief parts; black weathering around the figure and text.

 Remarks:  Barag, 1970, type A, category 5(Animals), Zoudhi type If. The lion presented as a symbol of alertness and watchfullness. It is regarded as a symbol of Christ, the Lion of Judah. The myth that lion cubs are born dead but come to life after three days, is a tale which reminded early Christians of the Resurrection. The Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Kassel owns a glass chain or necklace with ten glass pendants of which four discs are represented with lions. One might come to the conclusion that the medallions where not necessarily worn as single pieces, but in a constellation of protective symbols, to bring good fortune or to ward off the evil eye. The function of token or weight is hardly plausible, for the disk is extremely small and likewise in weight, very light.

Provenance: from a private dutch collection.

Literature: Monneret de Villard, 1922, Exagia Bizantini in Vetro, Rivista Italiana di Numismatica 2-3, pp 93-5; Jungfleisch, 1932, Les Dénéraux et Estampilles Byzantins, pp 233-256. Verre de la Collection Froehner, Bulletin de l’Institut d’Egypte, 14.; Glass from the Ancient World, 1957, The Ray Windfield Smith Collection, Corning Museum of Glass. Section IV, p 195-197.

Reference: Bomford Collection, Bristol, 1976, no 81, p 24. Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Kassel, 1984, no 192, p 92.  Spartz no: 160, Taf. 38. Naumann no: 20, Taf 4.  Whitehouse, 2003, CMG vol.II, no’s: 891-893.

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