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Glazed Storage Jar (Amphora) with Serapis

This rare amphora is remarkably well preserved. Its distinctive, brilliant blue glaze has precedents in the Near East and production seems to have centered in the region of Persia during the Parthian Empire. The shape of the pot, however, is influenced by Greco-Roman styles and the figure that appears on the neck seems to be the Greco-Egyptian god Serapis, who was widely worshipped throughout the Roman Empire. Pots of this type have been found in Syria and Persia, and, in this period, Syria was a Roman province. Regardless of whether the vessel was made by a Parthian potter for a Roman client, or by a Roman potter influenced by Parthian techniques, it reflects a fascinating mingling of cultural ideas and artistic traditions.

Roman or Parthian, said to be from Emesa (modern Homs), Syria
Glazed Storage Jar (Amphora) with Serapis
2nd–3rd century AD
Glazed terracotta
H. 12 3/16 in. (32.0 cm.),
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Gift of Mrs. Nicholas H. Noyes, 71.102