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Circular Pyxis
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Circular Pyxis

Description Conservation Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description The box is one of a small number to survive from the 4th through 7th centuries, most carved with mythological (pagan) or Christian subjects. Often called "pyxides" (Greek for "boxes"), they served a variety of functions, such as holding holy incense in a church context or a woman's jewelry. The walls of this one contain two episodes from Greek mythology. First, the Olympian gods are seen feasting around a tripod table and holding the golden Apple of the Hesperides. In the next scene, Hermes is awarding the apple to Aphrodite, whom he chose over Athena and Hera (shown to her sides) as the most beautiful among goddesses.
Date Description Narrative
5/02/1984Examinationexamined for exhibition
  • Early Christian and Byzantine Art. Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore. 1947.
  • The Taste of Maryland: Art Collecting in Maryland 1800-1934. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984.
  • Byzantine Women and Their World. Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge. 2002-2003.
Provenance Count Girolamo Possenti, Fabriano, by purchase; Sale, Florence, March 29, 1880, no. 16; Eugen Felix, Cologne [date of acquisition unknown], by purchase; Sale, Cologne, October 25, 1886, no. 319; Henry Walters, Baltimore, 1926 [mode of acquisition unknown]; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, 1926

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5th-6th century (Late Antique)
(Ivory & Bone)
Accession Number
H: 3 3/8 x Diam: 3 9/16 in. (8.5 x 9.1 cm)
  • Egypt (Place of Origin)


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