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Ancient Art

Silver Jar

A.D. 200–300

Silver with gilding

22.5 × 11.5 cm (8 7/8 × 4 1/2 in.)
Yale-French Excavations at Dura-Europos
1931.585
When they sacked the city about A.D. 256, Sasanians looted most of the objects of value in Dura-Europos. The few surviving examples, however, demonstrate the level of personal wealth achieved by a portion of Dura’s population. This elegant silver wine jar, found in a private house, was probably imported. It is embellished with gilded reliefs of grapevines and actors’ masks, all of which evoke Dionysos, Greek god of wine and theater, and are appropriate for a vessel that was used during elaborate banquets.
Geography: 
Excavated in Dura-Europos, Syria
Status: 
On view
Culture: 
Syrian, Dura-Europos
Period: 
Roman (3rd century A.D.)
Classification: 
Containers - Metals
Provenance: 

Excavated by the Yale-French Excavations at Dura-Europos (block D5, House of the Large Atrium), present-day Syria, 1928–37; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.

Bibliography: 

Susan B. Matheson, Dura-Europos: The Ancient City and the Yale Collection, 1st (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1982), 34, fig. 30.

Michael I. Rostovtzeff, Professor Paul V. C. Baur, and Professor Alfred R. Bellinger, The Excavations at Dura-Europos: Preliminary Reports of the Excavations, 9 vols. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1929–44), 229–31, pl. 12, ill.

Handbook of the Collections, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1992), 272, ill.

Susan B. Downey, Terracotta Figurines and Plaques from Dura-Europos (Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan Press, 2003), 104–5, no. 56 (head only), fig. 52.

Dorothy E. Miner, ed., Early Christian and Byzantine Art: An Exhibition Held at the Baltimore Museum of Art, April 25–June 22, exh. cat. (Baltimore: The Walters Art Museum, 1947), 81, no. 359.

Blair Fowlkes-Childs and Michael Seymour, The World Between Empires: Art and Identity in the Ancient Middle East, exh. cat. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2019), 186, no. 130.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.