The Metropolitan Museum of Art/The Cloisters Collection 1950 (50.4)
Big Apple Holy Grail. A famous modern candidate for the Holy Grail is this silver chalice now in the Metropolitan Museum of New York. Part of a treasure belonging to a church in Kaper Koraon, near Antioch (modern Antakya, Turkey), the cup (or its undecorated silver lining) was quickly hailed as the Holy Grail when it came to light in 1908. In fact, though, it most likely dates to the sixth century. Decorated with vines, animal motifs, ten seated disciples or philosophers and two images of Jesus, the Antioch Chalice (as it is commonly known) may have originally served as a Eucharist chalice in a Byzantine-era Antioch church; it is also possible that it was a standing lamp—it resembles other lamps of the sixth century, and its decorations may represent Jesus’ words: “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12).