Ancient Greece, Classical Period, ca. 5th century BCE. A stunning bronze ewer shaped from repeatedly-hammered sheets of bronze with the rim and handle formed via the lost wax (cire perdue) process. The vessel presents an elegant silhouette with a rounded, apple-shaped body, a tapering neck rising from a broad shoulder that eventually flares to a wide mouth surrounded by a thick rim, and a single handle joining rim to shoulder. The handle boasts a triangular lower terminal on the body and a forked upper terminal conjoined to the rim. Contributing to the vessel's timeless beauty are layers of green and russet patina with areas of the golden bronze peeking through. Bronze vessels like this one were a centuries-long tradition in ancient Greek society, used for offerings in temples, as expensive gifts, and as grave goods to honor the dead. Size: 11.75" W x 14.55" H (29.8 cm x 37 cm).
The ancient Greeks made vessels out of terracotta, stone, glass, ivory, wood, leather, silver, gold, and bronze. While vases comprised of precious metals have for the most part disappeared because they were melted down, ancient literature and recorded inscriptions attest to their existence. Bronze vessels, being less expensive than gold or silver, were created in greater quantities; however, many of them have not survived either. Those that have, like this example, were probably hidden in hoards beneath the ground or buried in tombs.
For a stylistically-similar example of a ewer in the form of an oinochoe with a beaked spout, an ornate handle, and a footed base, please see The Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession number 1997.158: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/256864
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection; ex-William Froelich collection, New York, USA, acquired in the 1970s
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Surface wear and abrasions commensurate with age, minor nicks to rim, body, handle, and base, with some darkening to exposed golden bronze areas, and light encrustations, otherwise intact and near-choice. Light earthen deposits and fabulous green and russet patina throughout. Old inventory label atop upper handle terminal.