Pitcher with Christian Symbols

Object Name: 
Pitcher with Christian Symbols

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Object Name: 
Pitcher with Christian Symbols
Place Made: 
Accession Number: 
Overall H: 21.7 cm, W: 6.7 cm
On Display
Web Description: 
The object belongs to a group of six-sided bottles and pitchers with Christian symbols that are readily distinguishable by their height, color, and subject matter from the vessels with Christian and Jewish symbols probably made in Jerusalem. While all but one of the Christian glasses of "Jerusalem" type are decorated with crosses or crosses in aediculae alternating with large concentric lozenges, the taller vessels have crosses, palm fronds, lattices, and stylite saints. The last motif, unmistakable in some examples, suggests strongly that these vessels were made in Syria, where Saint Simeon Stylites and his imitators attracted pilgrims from all parts of Christendom. Saint Simeon was expelled from his monastery for excessive austerity and spent the rest of his life perched on a series of pillars (Greek stylos: hence stylites, one who stands on a pillar). According to his biographer, Theodoretus, pilgrims visited Simeon from as far afield as Britain, and after his death they frequented the shrine constructed around his pillar, at Qala'at Semaan. Vessels decorated with stylites, therefore, may have been made as early as the mid-fifth century, when Saint Simeon was already attracting attention; presumably, production ceased not later than the Arab invasion of Syria in 641. Thus, they are contemporary with the "Jerusalem" bottles and pitchers, and they probably had a similar function: as pilgrims' souvenirs, perhaps containing oil or water.
Sangiorgi, Giorgio, Former Collection
Sangiorgi, Sergio, Source
Primary Description: 
Pale yellowish green glass; mold blown; handle and neck ring trailed on. Jug with tall hexagonal body; rim splayed and rounded; neck expands downwards to sloping shoulder; trailed on handle and neck ring; body blown into hexagonal mold; hollow base; pontil scar. Decoration on all six sides of body: clockwise from below handle, (1) palm frond, (2) cross with triangular arms above rectangular object, (3) palm frond, (4) row of lozenges, (5) cross within circle, with vertical ribs below and unidentified motif above, (6) row of lozenges.
Ennion and His Legacy: Mold-Blown Glass From Ancient Rome
Metropolitan Museum of Art 2014-12-09 through 2015-04-13
Corning Museum of Glass 2015-05-16 through 2016-01-04
At the end of the first century B.C., glassmakers working in the environs of Jerusalem made a revolutionary breakthrough in the way glass was made. They discovered that glass could be inflated at the end of a hollow tube. This technical achievement—glassblowing—made the production of glass vessels much quicker and easier, and allowed glassmakers to develop new shapes and decorative techniques. One technique, inflating glass in molds carved with decorative and figural designs, was used to create multiple examples of a variety of vessel shapes with high-relief patterns. The molds used to shape this ancient glass were complex in their design, and the mold-blown glass vessels of ancient Rome tell a wealth of stories about the ancient world, from gladiators to perfume vessels, from portraits of a Roman empress to oil containers marked with the image of Mercury, Roman god of trade. Among the earliest workshops to design and create mold-blown glass was one in which a man named Ennion worked. Ennion was the first glassmaker to sign his glass objects by incorporating his name into the inscriptions that formed part of the mold’s design, and thus he stands among a small group of glass workers whose names have come down to us from antiquity. On view through January, 4, 2016, Ennion and His Legacy, is composed of mold-blown master works by Ennion and other Roman glassmakers. The works are drawn from the Corning Museum’s collection of Roman glass, one of the finest in the world. Within the larger exhibit is a smaller exhibit organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Ennion: Master of Roman Glass, which focuses specifically on works made by Ennion. Composed of loans from a number of international institutions and private collections this exhibit within an exhibit brings together many of the known examples of Ennion’s wares and will be on view through October 19, 2015.
Glass of the Caesars
British Museum 1987-11-18 through 1988-03-06
Romisch-Germanisches Museum 1988-04-15 through 1988-10-18
Musei Capitolini 1988-11-03 through 1989-01-31
Corning Museum of Glass
Some Dubious Stylites on Early Byzantine Glassware (2004) illustrated, pp. 48-49, fig. 7;
Roman Glass in The Corning Museum of Glass, Volume Two (2001) illustrated, pp. 98-99, pl. 591; BIB# 58895
Roman Glass in The Corning Museum of Glass, Volume Two (2001) illustrated, pp. 98-99, pl. 591; BIB# 58895
Illuminating Byzantine Jerusalem - Oil Lamps Shed Light on Early Christian Worship (1998) p. 47, ill.;
From Grains of Sand (1995) illustrated, p.25; BIB# AI35558
Glass Of The Roman Empire (1988) illustrated, pp. 44-45, fig. 18; pp. 7, 9; BIB# 32608
Glass of the Caesars (1987) illustrated, p. 176, #97; BIB# 31831
Roman Glass in The Corning Museum of Glass (postcards) (1987) illustrated, #17; BIB# 34348