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Bottle, Crucifixion bottle (God bottle)

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Te Hikoi Museum

This style of bottle craftsmanship is called a Crucifixion Bottle. It depicts objects related to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, including the cross and numerous tools such as a ladder and axe. The items inside the bottle are made of wood and are preserved in a combination of water and oil. This particular bottle is unique as most Crucifixion Bottles only use oil. Using a combination of water and oil means that the contents of the bottles are far more easily viewed through the glass. It is possible that this bottle may have a connection to Norwegian Sail craft. A little more about Crucifixion Bottles: Crucifixion Bottles originate from Germany and Eastern Europe. The main feature of the bottle is always a cross and they feature commonalities including various tools detailed in accounts of the crucifixion; ladders, a spear, a long stick with a sponge at the end, hammer, nails and sometimes a shovel. More elaborate bottles can even include the cock that crowed when St Peter denied Christ three times, a flail, dice representing the soldiers’ guards and/or the two thieves with no cross. Related to Catholicism, bottles were spread through diaspora from Ireland and the Slavic regions of Europe.

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  • Title

    Bottle, Crucifixion bottle (God bottle)

  • Maker

    Unknown maker

  • Date made


  • Subject

    Art and Design, Religion and Belief

  • Additional information

    processed materials, glass organic, vegetal, bark, processed materials, cork organic, vegetal, wood inorganic, water organic, oil, h 310 mm x w 80 mm x d 270 mm

  • Rights

    Attribution - Non-commercial (cc)

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Te Hikoi Museum

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Te Hikoi Museum

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  • Text adapted with permission from Te Papa and Digital NZ

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