This scene of celebration with drinking and music is a fundamental reminder of what has been forgotten. Jesus said: ‘Where there are two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.’ In other words, the gathering together of people with a certain intention (‘in my name’) is the vehicle for connection with something spiritual beyond our normal comprehension. Such gatherings are times of enjoyment, and have to be so for their purpose to be fulfilled. The agape feasts of the Classical world, which reflected this practice, were ended by the stern bigotry of Christianity in the 2nd century, and when Islam came along it banned alcohol and ruined much of the potential of such assemblies where it could. But clearly in ancient Bactria they had no such inhibitions, and decorated the vessels they drank from with scenes of their drinking.
65–71 COLLECTION OF SEVEN BACTRIAN SILVER VESSELS
Ancient Bactria, late 3rd–early 2nd millennium BC
Published: O. Bopearachchi, C. Landes, C. Sachs, De l’Indus à l’Oxus. Archéologie de l’Asie Centrale, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Montpellier, 2003
Provenance: Private collection, UK