Bottle with gods and hunting scenes

Roman Provincial
Late Imperial Period
A.D. 270–320
Signed by Workshop of Navigius

Place of Manufacture: North Africa


Height: 26.5 cm (10 7/16 in.); maximum diameter: 10.7 cm (4 3/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Ceramic, African Red Slip

Not On View


The Ancient World



Two-handled bottle with cylindrical body. Exterior decoration of the body is divided into three registers by pairs of grooves. The top zone is centerd on Venus, who wears a tiara and holds her mantle outspread behind herself. She is flanked by Cupids–the one at the right, seated on a fruitbasket and holding a covered jar; the one at the left, seated on a pyxis and holding a perfume bottle(?). Beside the right Cupid is Diana, the huntress, with her bow. On the reverse are a dog biting a rabbit and a group of followers of Liber/Bacchus: two stayrs dancing with a Maenad watched by Silenus. Across the middle and lower registers, Venus reapppears, again with a Cupid seated on a fruitbowl at her right. Otherwise, the two lower registers are filled with horsemen armed with spears pursuing boar and by dogs biting rabbits. Around the shoulder is the inscription EX (O)FICI NAIGIVS (“from the workshop of Navigius”).


By date unknown: with Gawain McKinley, New York; acquired a few years before Gawain McKinley's death in 1995 by a dealer who consigned it to Sotheby's New York (information provided by Sotheby's); by December 1997: with Sotheby's, 1334 York Ave., New York, NY 10021 (sale no. 7073, December 17, 1997, lot no. 369); purchased at Sotheby's sale by Walter and Celia Gilbert; gift of Celia and Walter Gilbert to MFA, December 14, 2005

Credit Line

Gift of Celia and Walter Gilbert in honor of John J. Herrmann, Jr., Curator of Classical Art, 1978-2004