Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Decorative Frieze with Wolves Chasing Gazelles
Architectural Elements
Work Type
architectural element
c. 300-500 CE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Africa, Egypt (Ancient)
Byzantine period, Early
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
actual: 27 x 66.5 cm (10 5/8 x 26 3/16 in.)
Professor Nelson Goodman, Weston, MA, Collector.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Gift of Nelson Goodman
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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Published Catalogue Text: Stone Sculptures: The Greek, Roman and Etruscan Collections of the Harvard University Art Museums , written 1990

Decorative Frieze with Wolves Chasing Gazelles

The stone is seemingly good-grain limestone with some overall surface chipping, especially around the edges.

A large, scrolled vine fills this fragment, creating three separate circular zones. The beginning of another vine can be seen in the upper left corner. In the rightmost zone can be seen the heads and necks of two charging wolves and the head, neck, and torso of a third wolf. In the middle zone, a fourth wolf has caught the hind leg of a gazelle in his teeth. The gazelle, whose front half is in the left zone, turns its head and looks back and up over its shoulder. The hind part of a second gazelle can be seen fleeing to the left.

This work, currently installed in the stairwell of the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, is an exceptionally fine and sensitive rendering of a figured vine rinceau, a motif that occurs widely throughout the eastern Mediterranean from the Roman period on. Compare the example from the Malcove Collection, University of Toronto, M82.313 (Friedman, 1989, p. 259, no. 173).

Cornelius Vermeule and Amy Brauer

Publication History

Cornelius C. Vermeule III and Amy Brauer, Stone Sculptures: The Greek, Roman and Etruscan Collections of the Harvard University Art Museums, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), p. 166, no. 152

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at