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Spherical small container (pyxis) with representations of Christ, Virgin and two archangels

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This gilded silver pyxis of spherical form was a container for relics or incense used in Early Byzantine church rites. The four figures produced in repousse technique show a bearded Christ offering a blessing, the Virgin holding an emblem symbolic of her roles as Mother of God (Theotokos), and...

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By date unknown: in a private collection in London (thought to have been owned for a number of years); in 1990: purchased from the private collection in London by an American private collector; by November 2004: with Ward & Company, 962 Park Ave. at 82nd St., New York, NY 10028; December 21, 2004: purchased by George and Margo Behrakis from Ward and Company; gift of George and Margo Behrakis to MFA, April 27, 2005

Credit Line

Gift of George D. and Margo Behrakis in honor of John J. Herrmann, Jr., Curator of Classical Art, 1976-2004

Byzantine, Early Byzantine Period, 6th–7th century A.D.

Place of Manufacture

Syria (incl. Syria, eastern Turkey and Lebanon)

Catalogue Raisonné

Highlights: Classical Art (MFA), p. 052-053.


Height x diameter: 7 x 9 cm (2 3/4 x 3 9/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Silver with gilding


The Ancient World