Pio Cristiano Sarcophagus 31551: Detail, Jesus' Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem

See Matthew 21:7-9, c.f. Mark 11:7-10, Luke 19:36-38. As in Matthew and Mark, someone is laying down a cloak for Jesus to ride on. The man in the tree can be either a reference to Matthew 21:8, "others cut boughs from the trees, and strewed them in the way" (though the man has no cutting implement) or to Zacchaeus, who had climbed a tree to observe Jesus' entry into Jericho earlier that same day (Luke 19:1-5).

The Y shape of the tree is also seen on the frontals of another sarcophagus from the beginning of the 4th century in the Pio-Christian and in a Sicilian sarcophagus in the Syracuse Archeological Museum from the second quarter of that century. The early 20th-century restorers of a sarcophagus frontal in the Metropolitan Museum adopted the same shape in their conjectural restoration of the Palm Sunday scene.

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Read more about Jesus entry into Jerusalem.

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