Covered dish (censer) with "chimney" set in jar with seashell decoration

Late Imperial Period
Third or 4th century A.D.

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


The Ancient World



Lidded jar with inset dish and seashell decoration. Jar with globular body, low ring base, inset neck and vertical lip. Decoration of two rows of hammered cockle shells, alternating convex (shell exterior) and concave (shell interior). Eight shells in top row; eight shells in bottom row. On shoulder and just above ring base are small comma-shaped forms with indentations on top (eight on shoulder; eight smaller ones above base). Below short neck is a zone of incised decoration: two parallel lines, perhaps with chevrons between. Three soldering marks on shoulder (for hanging from chains). Gray substance in bottom. Small inset dish with flat base, hemispherical body, and horizontal lip. Trace of gray substance at base of dish. Lid with horizontal lip, inverted hemispherical body, tapering cylindrical stem with rounded, everted knob, pierced at top. Wavy convex flutes on body, double incised horizontal lines at base of knob and part way up stem, single incised line on stem. Fragment of small chain (20 links).


By 1997: with Brian T. Aitken, Acanthus, 22 East 80th Street, New York 10021 (reported by him to have come from a private collection in the Suisse Romande, where it had been since the early 1970s); purchased by MFA from Brian T. Aitken, November 19, 1997

Credit Line

Bequest of Charles H. Parker, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William de Forest Thomson, and the Estate of Dana Estes, by exchange