Byzantine / Box and Cover with Sleeping Eros / 4th CenturyByzantine
Box and Cover with Sleeping Eros
4th Century

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Anatolian; Byzantine
Creator Name-CRT: Byzantine
Title: Box and Cover with Sleeping Eros
View: Principal view
Creation Start Date: 300
Creation End Date: 399
Creation Date: 4th Century
Creation Place: Said to be from Tartus, Syria
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Materials and Techniques: silver
Dimensions: 3 x 9 3/4 x 3 3/4 in. (7.6 x 24.8 x 9.5 cm)
Description: This fourth-century Byzantine silver box is said to be from Tartus, in Syria. Small silver boxes like this one, decorated with embossed figures and objects, could have been used to hold a wide variety of precious objects. The cover of this box depicts Eros, or Cupid, the god of love, asleep on a lion's skin with his bow and quiver in hand. Although a lesser figure in Greek and Roman mythology, Eros is widely represented in art throughout the ages. He is most often symbolic in purpose, serving as a reminder that the theme of the piece on which he is portrayed is love. The bow Eros holds and the lion skin on which he rests both symbolize strength; more specifically, the bow suggests the power of love to disarm even the strong. The sides of the box are decorated with putti holding garlands of flowers and ribbons between them. Putti are a younger and more childlike version of Eros and act as his attendants. They may have inspired early Christian representations of angels. Each end of the box is decorated with the head of a bull, an object of worship in early religions because of the bull's strength and virility. The decoration of this box shows that the traditions of the Greek and Roman periods remained important in the region even as Christianity became the dominant religion.
AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York
ID Number: 47.100.33
Credit Line: Fletcher Fund, 1947
Copyright: Copyright ? 2002 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All rights reserved.
AMICA ID: MMA_.47.100.33
AMICA Library Year: 2002
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright (c) 2002 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All Rights Reserved

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