Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Glass Inlays from Roman Egypt in the Miho Musuem

Lovely Flickr. No idea what this one represents.
 Comic Actor

 Floral motifs

 I just love these little things.

1 comment:

G. Verloren said...

"No idea what this one represents."

It's pretty abstract, but I'm going to take a small crack at interpreting it.

Obviously we've got an ankh, sacred symbol of life. It appears to have been anthropomorphized, having been given arms. These are grasping the long necks of creatures so stylized I struggle to identify them.

One possibility is that these are herons, associated with the deity Bennu, and linked with the concept of rebirth, which would connect somewhat neatly with the symbolism of the ankh. Herons would explain the pale coloration, and could also explain the strange "ear" shapes on the tops of the heads, as the herons of egypt have long plumes that trail off the back of the head. (Although they visually differ somewhat from what is depicted here, raising questions of whether this is abstraction or simply the wrong identification of these animals.)

We're discussing Roman Egypt, so the time period is correct for early Christianity, and the presence of religious symbols of both life and rebirth suggests a possible connection. Additionally, the ankh itself was adopted by the Coptic faith, and has associations with the very similar crux ansata.

It'd be interesting to hear from someone with actual familiarity or expertise on this sort of thing.