Byzantine and Christian Museum :: Sculpture

Marble pilaster capital (00912)

BXM: 000912
Exhibition room: II.2 The age of crisis

Date: 7th-8th c.

Dimensions (cm): 37 X45 X 3
Provenance: Nea Anchialos, Magnesia

The pilaster capital was found in the excavation of the atrium of Basilica III at Phthiotic Thebes (now Nea Anchialos, Magnesia).  It is decorated with acanthus half-leaves (at the corners), a band of plant ornament (above) and an urn flanked by shoots from which emerge two-headed birds (centre).  The placing of emblems between acanthus half-leaves is reminiscent of a similar decorative type from the Late Roman period.  This element, combined with the Eastern-inspired emblem of the two-headed birds and the plain carving of the relief, make this pilaster capital from Phthiotic Thebes typical of the sculpture produced in the transitional period sometimes called the 'dark ages'.