The Adoration of the Magi and Daniel in the Lions' Den

4th century
Sarcophagus fragment
Museo Pio Cristiano, Vatican City

The Magi with their camels approach the child, bowing slightly forward and extending their hands toward him to offer the gifts. The first one offers a wreath while pointing to the star above Mary's head. Her palla is pulled onto her head as usual. The child on her lap wears a sleeved tunic and reaches for the wreath.

The man in the middle may be Balaam, who was believed to have prophesied the star that the Magi would follow. His scroll would symbolize his vocation as a prophet. The next man to the right is Habakkuk bringing bread to Daniel in the den. The youth on the far right is unidentified. He could be a doubling of Daniel's portrait – i.e., Daniel as prophet.

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More of the Magi
More of Daniel

Photographed at the museum by Richard Stracke, shared under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.