31a: A Large Greek Cypriot Barrel-Shaped Jar
This is a large pottery jar with a spherical, barrel shaped body from Cyprus, dating to the Cypro-Geometric period, circa 1050-750 B.C.
The body, made of white painted ware, is slightly pointed at each end, with a low relief nipple in the center of a geometric decoration consisting of concentric circle "targets" (the reason why these vessels are also described as target vessels). Other decoration, all strictly geometric and symmetrical, consists of two bands of concentric rings around the body, made of lines of varying thickness, another band around the neck, and cross-hatched lozenge motifs on the shoulder and beneath the handle. The vessel has a slender neck with a flared rim.
Barrel shaped jugs were common in ancient Cyprus. They do not stand on their own, so they must have served a specific function. It has been suggested that their use was purely funerary, since they were found in tombs mainly in eastern Cyprus.
Literature: For the shape of the vessel see for instance Vassos Karageorghis, Ancient Art from Cyprus. The Cesnola Collection in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, 2000) p. 100, no. 159 (differently decorated and from a slightly younger period); for the type of geometric decoration see ibid., p. 82-83, nos. 131, 133 and p. 92-93, nos. 145, 148.
Height: ca. 20 cm (just shy of 8"H).
Provenance: Swiss private collection of A. Branca, Ascona, acquired between 1960 and 1980.
Intact with no repairs or restoration; some expected general surface wear including minor chipping and scratching; the surface presents traces of white and grey encrustation and root marks throughout.