Bottom of a gold sandwich-glass vase with the figure of a martyr

Bottom of a gold sandwich-glass vase. In the centre, a standing martyr holds a palm branch, a Christian symbol of victory over death. A special technique was used to make the vase, in which a very fine gold leaf is positioned cold on the bottom of a glass vase, over which details were outlined with frequent use of colour. The gold leaf was then coated with a layer of colourless glass powder. During the firing of the vase, the powder melts to form a protective layer over the image. This technique was popular in Rome and in Cologne. If the vase was made in Cologne (Germany), as it could well have been, we may be able to identify the unknown martyr as Saint Gereon, whose cult was widespread in the Rhineland. The vase is the only one of its kind in Greece.

Skampavias K. 2007. Catalogue no. 1, in Skampavias K.—Chatzidakis N. (eds), Paul and Alexandra Canellopoulos Museum. Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Art, Athens, 17.