A Cermaic Figurine of the Good Sheperd
This Byzantine ceramic figure from approximately 600 AD represents the good shepherd as related in the New Testament. The Byzantine Empire was a direct continuation of the Roman Empire, so the story would have been well known throughout the region as the Christian religion quickly spread. Here we see the shepherd holding a sheep as an artistic representation of the biblical story.
Ceramic figurines were not uncommon in the Byzantine Empire, yet the delicate features and good condition of this piece set it apart from the fragments often found in most collections. The figurine is 12.5 cm tall and was elegantly sculpted to suggest the allegory’s weight. Interestingly enough, there are a number of pagan stories that precede this image, yet most involve a ram while this figure clearly holds an ewe.