Sonia Halliday/The Moussaieff Collection, London

Glass bottle: This bottle, perhaps used as a vessel for oil, is impressed with three human faces. According to Shlomo Moussaieff, the faces are framed by haloes, thus identifying the figure as Jesus.

Several scholars, however, express substantial doubts that Jesus is represented on this bottle. The flat space surrounding the head does not appear to be a halo: All ancient haloes were marked by crosses, which are absent in this instance. In the earliest depictions of Jesus, moreover, he was shown with long curly hair; later, in the fourth century C.E., Jesus was given short curly hair and a cropped beard—never a long tapering beard as on this bottle. The figure shown here resembles no known portrayal of Jesus.

But the bottle does resemble glassware from the Late Roman period (132–324 C.E.). Its general shape and, especially, the rope-like design framing the depiction are common in pieces from this period. In the view of one scholar, the design likely represents a hand holding a mask.