Pilgrim Flask



Pottery pilgrim flask (ampulla) with a flat circular shaped body, narrow neck, and two handles for suspension. Both sides are moulded with a raised image of St. Menas, an Egyptian soldier who was martyred during the reign of the emperor Diocletian who reigned between AD 284–305. St. Menas is standing with arms outstretched in the early Christian pose of prayer. He stands between two crouching camels that carried his body to Abu Mina for burial. Above his arms are traces of crosses and the whole image is surrounded by a plain circle and then thr border of concentric circles. Surface is badly worn with a large amount of surface dirt. One handle is broken while the mouth of the flask is also damaged. Wellcome Historical Medical Museum accession number 32859A. Purchased at Sotheby's, London, 17 December 1924 Lot 603.