Weekly theme: The rise of world faiths
That got me thinking about religious symbols in general - crucifixes around necks, colourful portraits of Hindu gods, statues of the Buddha - which are such familiar images that for most of us there's an instant, almost unconscious, recognition of what they represent.
Week 9 of A History of the World in 100 objects tells the story of a period when some of the modern world's great religions not only first developed but as lead curator JD Hill explains, also established the imagery that we know them by now.
This is a week of religion. Roughly in the period between AD 100 and 600 many of the great faiths - which are still the major religions of the world today - are spreading and it's during this time that they developed their visual identity.
For example, although it was at least 600 years after the start of Buddhism, this is the point when the image of the Buddha - one of the most well-known images anywhere in the world - became established.
Our seated Buddha, from Pakistan, is among the earliest depictions of the man himself and illustrates JD's point perfectly - it's so familiar that it could have been carved in our own times.
But it wasn't just Buddhism. At this point Christianity and Hinduism both developed the imagery and symbolism we recognise today, and what's really interesting is that they did it within a few hundred years of each other.
In South Asia, an early view of the gods of modern Hinduism can be glimpsed on the face of our coin of Kumaragupta - minted by a ruler of the Gupta dynasty that presided over India's so-called 'golden age'. In Europe, the Hinton St Mary mosaic, that once formed the floor of a villa in Roman Britain, offers quite possibly the earliest image of Jesus Christ. Here it tells the story of the adoption of Christianity by the Roman Empire, and why - at this point in time - images of Christ start to be made.
And just as Christianity became the state religion of Rome, Zoroastrianism became the state religion of the Sasanian Empire of Iran - on our silver plate, a Sasanian king triumphs over evil in the form of a wild deer.
Zoroastrianism may not be as widely followed today as Buddhism, Christianity or Hinduism, but it's still with us, unlike the ancient religions of Arabia. A strangely lifelike bronze hand offers a tantalising window on the religions of this region before Islam - a world we know little about.
Islam would go on to establish itself across central Asia, north Africa and southern Europe. We'll find out all about the impact of this rapid rise next week.