Bowl with biblical relief decoration

Roman Provincial
Early Christian Period
A.D. 350–430

Place of Manufacture: Tunisia, Byzacena, Sidi Marzouk Tounsi


Diameter: 30 cm (11 13/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Ceramic; African Red Slip Ware

Not On View


The Ancient World



The story of Jonah is told in four episodes around the center of the bowl. Jonah sits disconsolate; Jonah is thrown from a boat to the sea monster; the monster regurgitates him; and Jonah lies under the gourd vine.

Around the rim of the bowl (counterclockwise) are the resurrection of Lazarus, Joseph and Potiphar’s wife, and Isaac carrying firewood on his way to sacrifice. The feet of Abraham leading Isaac are preserved. Traces of another scene, perhaps Adam and Eve at the Tree of Knowledge, are preserved. One or two more unidentifiable scenes were also present.


By March 1995: with Harlan J. Berk, Ltd, 31 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60602 (85th Buy or Bid Sale, March 9, 1995, cat. no. 631A); March 1995: purchased by William Knight Zewadski from Harlan J. Berk, Ltd.; purchased by MFA from William Knight Zewadski, June 26, 2002

Credit Line

Museum purchase with funds donated in memory of Emily Townsend Vermeule