Greece, early Hellenistic period, ca. late 4th century BCE. An elegant double-handled stamnoid form situla with a fierce lion's head applique on one side. The body is rounded at the shoulder before tapering to a flat, slightly flared base. Twin curved bail handles, hexagonal in section to allow them to lay against the rim, are attached to twin hooks set into the wide, flat rim. One of these twin hooks is part of the lion's head applique, and, before restoration, there would have been a strainer between the wall of the vessel and the spout. The other hook may have once had a lion's head or the head of a deity applied below it based on similar known examples. Two narrow incised bands are just below the rim, wrapping around the body immediately above its widest point. The lion's head includes an elongated, concave tongue that forms a spout-like projection for pouring. The remains of gilding are still present on the unrestored parts of the body, giving an idea of what the vessel would have looked like when first made - shining and golden. Size: 8.85" W x 9.25" H (22.5 cm x 23.5 cm)
The situla was originally made for cooling and serving wine at banquets; others were used to hold ashes, or were buried with offerings in tombs. The design of this particular example, known as a stamnoid situla (one of three known types of situlae), is similar to that of the Prusias find, from modern day Bursa, Turkey (then Bithynia, part of the Greek world). Other examples are known from Thrace and near modern day Kiev. The stamnoid form was probably inspired by similar examples used in Persia. The situla from the Prusias find was accompanied by a strainer, a ladle, and a kylix, all accoutrement for enjoying wine socially.
Provenance: ex Sotheby’s, New York, USA, Antiquities, 12 June 1993, lot 176
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