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Choice Greek Hellenistic Silver Mastoid Bowl

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Choice Greek Hellenistic Silver Mastoid Bowl
Item Details
Description
Ancient Greece, Hellenistic Period, ca. 3rd to 1st century BCE. A gorgeous bowl of a respectable size in the form of a mastos or mastoid, a drinking vessel shaped like a breast, hammered from 93.52% to 94.75% silver. The conical vessel features a rounded base that gradually widen into tall walls, and a thick rim surrounds the smooth surfaces comprising the deep basin. A gently incised band around the interior of the rim creates a petite lip for the liquid inside to rest against until the drinker was ready for the next gulp. During the Hellenistic period, wealthy Greeks used silver as a marker of wealth more commonly than they had in the past. During the 5th century, a new silver source was discovered in the Laurium Hills in Attica, which was mined extensively soon thereafter. The profits from the mines enriched several Athenian families and created a greater pool of silver with which artisans could produce fine goods like this bowl. Size: 5.125" W x 2.8" H (13 cm x 7.1 cm); 6" H (15.2 cm) on included custom stand; silver quality: 93.52% to 94.75%; weight: 231.2 grams

The mastos form seems to be deliberately breast-shaped, based on archaeological findings suggesting ritual functions for these cups. Mastoid cups and ceramic votive representations of breasts have been found at sanctuaries to Diana and Hercules - two figures in classical religion associated with birth, nursing, and rearing children. Fascinatingly, some of these even have dedications made by wet nurses. Some scholars theorize that drinking of breast milk from a vessel like this one by an elderly or deathly ill adult symbolized rebirth in the afterlife.

Cf. an example with repousse decorations at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession number 22.50.2

Provenance: private Dodge collection, Superior, Colorado, USA; ex-Apolonia Gallery, Denver, Colorado; ex-private London, England collection, acquired in the 1980s and later purchased in 2016 from C.J. Martin, London

All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.

A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany all winning bids.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to recent increases of shipments being seized by Australian & German customs (even for items with pre-UNESCO provenance), we will no longer ship most antiquities and ancient Chinese art to Australia & Germany. For categories of items that are acceptable to ship to Australia or Germany, please contact us directly or work with your local customs brokerage firm.

Display stands not described as included/custom in the item description are for photography purposes only and will not be included with the item upon shipping.

#170596
Condition
Minor abrasions to interior and exterior surfaces, with small nicks to rim, and some dark patina across surfaces, otherwise intact and choice. Circular abrasions on base are consistent with formation process. Wonderful patina throughout!
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Choice Greek Hellenistic Silver Mastoid Bowl

Estimate $3,600 - $5,400
May 19, 2022
See Sold Price
Starting Price $1,800
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Artemis Gallery

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0021: Choice Greek Hellenistic Silver Mastoid Bowl

Lot Passed
0 Bids
Est. $3,600 - $5,400Starting Price $1,800
Antiquities | Ethnographica | Fine Art
May 19, 2022 10:00 AM EDT
Buyer's Premium 26.5%

Lot 0021 Details

Description
...
Ancient Greece, Hellenistic Period, ca. 3rd to 1st century BCE. A gorgeous bowl of a respectable size in the form of a mastos or mastoid, a drinking vessel shaped like a breast, hammered from 93.52% to 94.75% silver. The conical vessel features a rounded base that gradually widen into tall walls, and a thick rim surrounds the smooth surfaces comprising the deep basin. A gently incised band around the interior of the rim creates a petite lip for the liquid inside to rest against until the drinker was ready for the next gulp. During the Hellenistic period, wealthy Greeks used silver as a marker of wealth more commonly than they had in the past. During the 5th century, a new silver source was discovered in the Laurium Hills in Attica, which was mined extensively soon thereafter. The profits from the mines enriched several Athenian families and created a greater pool of silver with which artisans could produce fine goods like this bowl. Size: 5.125" W x 2.8" H (13 cm x 7.1 cm); 6" H (15.2 cm) on included custom stand; silver quality: 93.52% to 94.75%; weight: 231.2 grams

The mastos form seems to be deliberately breast-shaped, based on archaeological findings suggesting ritual functions for these cups. Mastoid cups and ceramic votive representations of breasts have been found at sanctuaries to Diana and Hercules - two figures in classical religion associated with birth, nursing, and rearing children. Fascinatingly, some of these even have dedications made by wet nurses. Some scholars theorize that drinking of breast milk from a vessel like this one by an elderly or deathly ill adult symbolized rebirth in the afterlife.

Cf. an example with repousse decorations at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession number 22.50.2

Provenance: private Dodge collection, Superior, Colorado, USA; ex-Apolonia Gallery, Denver, Colorado; ex-private London, England collection, acquired in the 1980s and later purchased in 2016 from C.J. Martin, London

All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.

A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany all winning bids.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to recent increases of shipments being seized by Australian & German customs (even for items with pre-UNESCO provenance), we will no longer ship most antiquities and ancient Chinese art to Australia & Germany. For categories of items that are acceptable to ship to Australia or Germany, please contact us directly or work with your local customs brokerage firm.

Display stands not described as included/custom in the item description are for photography purposes only and will not be included with the item upon shipping.

#170596
Condition
...
Minor abrasions to interior and exterior surfaces, with small nicks to rim, and some dark patina across surfaces, otherwise intact and choice. Circular abrasions on base are consistent with formation process. Wonderful patina throughout!

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686 S. Taylor Avenue Suite 106
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