African Red Slip Ware bowl with the sacrifice of Isaac

Roman Provincial
Late Imperial Period
A.D. 350–430

Place of Manufacture: Tunisia

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Ceramic, African Red Slip Ware with figures molded separately and applied

Not On View


The Ancient World



Hayes form 53A: shallow bowl with unprofiled rim and flat base. On the inside two grooves run around the wall below the rim, and two more grooves ring the center. The interior is decorated with mold-made, applied figures.
Abraham is clad in a short tunic with one shoulder strap (an exomis), and he wields a broad, straight sword. With his left hand, he holds the head of Isaac over a rectangular altar with round elements (baltei) at either side of the top. Nine discs are placed on top of the altar to represent the ends of sticks of firewood. Isaac has his hands tied behind his back and wears a kind of pleated kilt. His bent right leg is missing. Above Isaac is the right hand of god. A tree and a ram complete the scene.


By 1989: in L. Alexander Wolfe (7 Natan Hanavi, Jerusalem 95111, Israel) and Frank Sternberg (10 Schanzengasse, 8001 Zurich, Switzerland) auction (Sternberg sale catalogue 23, no. 402) at Hotel Bellerive au Lac, Zurich, November 20, 1989; purchased at the auction by MFA; accessioned by MFA, December 20, 1989

Credit Line

Benjamin and Lucy Rowland Fund