Votive hand for Sabazios cult

Imperial Period
2nd–4th century A.D.

Catalogue Raisonné

Highlights: Classical Art (MFA), p. 044.


Height x width x depth: 14.5 x 4.4 x 4 cm (5 11/16 x 1 3/4 x 1 9/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World



Hollow-cast in the form of a human wrist and right hand with long, thin fingers, thumb, index- and middle-fingers extended, ring-finger and pinky bent into the palm. A snake is coiled around the wrist and stretches across the back of the hand, its head the projecting above the knuckle of the ring-finger; also on the back of the hand are a frog and a lizard, as well as several inanimate objects: below the snake, a braided whip; above the snake, two flutes (one straight, one curved) at left, and a pair of cymbals at right. On the side of the hand, just below the thumb, a turtle; on the tip of thumb, a pinecone. On the front side of the wrist, right of center, an offering table. At the base of palm, a disc-shaped object, probably a loaf of bread; in the center of the palm, an egg-shaped object, perhaps another pinecone. Extending between the tips of the index- and middle- fingers, an eagle, perched on a stylized thunderbolt. Sabazios Hand is part of the worship of a Thracian/Anatolian deity connected with Jupiter; hands like these stood in sanctuaries attached to poles and were carried in processions.


By date unknown: Collection of Minister Georges Gorse (1915-2002) of France (according to warranty supplied by Charles Ede Ltd.); by July 2005: with Auctioneer Thierry de Maigret, Paris, France (auction, July 12, 2005, lot 126); purchased at Maigret auction by Charles Ede Ltd., 20 Brook Street, London; imported into the United States in May 2006 (documentation includes July 2005 Export License from the French Ministry of Culture and 2006 European Export License); purchased by MFA from Charles Ede Ltd., December 13, 2006

Credit Line

Benjamin and Lucy Rowland Fund