Jonah and the Sea Monster

Early 4th century
Metropolitan Museum of Art

On the left the sea monster swallows Jonah feet-first. He is naked, like catechumens entering the pool in the baptismal rite of the period, and apparently naked again as he emerges from the monster on the left. It is hard to tell whether there ever was a representation of the genitals in the figure being swallowed.

When created this sculpture must have included more realistic details like the barrel we see in the forward area of the ship. The rectangular object to the left of the figure being swallowed must be one such detail, but I cannot tell what it might be and thus whether it might have a symbolic significance.

More of Jonah

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