Ancient Near East, Byzantine Empire, ca. 6th to 9th century CE. A hand-carved marble prosphora (bread) stamp. The stamp has a discoid press face with an exterior ring bearing a fragmentary inscription surrounding an interior cross. A large flared handle rests atop the back of the pressing face, allowing a baker to easily stamp the design onto the bread. Typical Byzantine bread stamps are made from either bronze or wood, so this marble example is one of extreme rarity! Size: 5.875" W x 2.5" H (14.9 cm x 6.4 cm).
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection
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Surface wear and abrasions commensurate with age and use, loss to much of one side of pressing face, small nicks and chips to face, carved designs, and handle, with fading to some carved designs, and expected darkening to marble. Nice earthen deposits throughout.