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Early Christian Art

Bronze plaque with relief of two heraldic lions and amphora
4th - 5th century AD
Height: 12.5 cm. (4 7/8 in.), Width: 12.5 cm. (5 in.)
Minor crack over left lion head, missing ornament tip at lower right corner.


The two heraldic lions are seated at the two sides of an amphora, with a floral ornament
on top. The lions style is the typical Late Roman Art style, with rather schematic
details, big heads and large eyes.

The motive of two heraldic lions, flanking a sacred object in the center, is an important artistic motive, which became popular in the Jewish art since the 4th century AD. It appears in major synagogue mosaic floors, next to the place of the Torah shrine. Later it appears in many Jewish ritual objects, like Chanukah Menorah, Torah book and Torah shrine ornaments. The amphora was one of the symbolic motives of the Temple of Jerusalem, in early Jewish art. It appears in Jewish coins of the 1st-2nd century AD, and later in synagogues ornaments.
The floral motive emerging from the amphora is a stylize Lily flower, with seven leaves, and not three as usual.
The Lily flower appears in Jewish art since the First Temple of Jerusalem in the 10th century BC, and at the Second Temple period it became a Jewish symbol of the Temple.
Although this appliqué is not a clear Jewish work of art, it has a close relation to the Jewish traditional art.

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  Bronze plaque with relief of two heraldic lions and amphora Click on any image to enlarge it.

Bronze plaque with relief of two heraldic lions and amphora

Gideon Sasson • Sasson  Ancient Art • King David Hotel - Annex, Jerusalem - 94101,  Israel
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