"Each part of the world recapitulates, shares in and experiences the history of the world as a whole"
Fernand Braudel

Flask of the Pilgrims

datation
Byzantine period. 6th century AD
provenance
Damascus
area
period
materials
themes

This object is known as a Pilgrim’s flask. It has a circular body, cylindrical neck and two handles connecting at the neck and top of the body. The body, which is made with a mold, features a scene of the Annunciation. The Virgin Mary sits on a chair and the winged Archangel Gabriel appears in front of her. Both have halos around their heads. In between them is the star of Beth Lahm topped with the Holy Cross carved in the middle of two doves. The image is surrounded by a circular banner with a written band in the Greek script:

"Peace be upon you, who is filled with blessing, God be with you".

This kind of flask can be found made in pottery, glass or metal. It can be filled with sacred oil or water for healing. Pilgrim’s flasks were sold in Jerusalem where pilgrims brought them back as souvenirs from the sacred lands. It was known that Syria was a place of passage for these pilgrims.

see also