Ancient Greece, Mycenaean, Late Helladic III, ca. 1375 to 1300 BCE. An unusually decorated wheel-thrown pottery jar with a petite flared foot, a broad spherical body with a smooth shoulder, a pair of arching handles conjoined along the edges of a central discoid handle, and a squat spout with a flared lip protruding from the side. The cream-slipped vessel is elegantly decorated with earthy brown pigment forming a profusion of floral forms, diamonds, circles, cross-hatched and linear motifs around the handle, shoulder, and upper body of the vessel. This all forms a highly stylized depiction of cuttlefish among the plants on a seabed. A thick band of dark pigment wraps around the equator of the vessel; thinner bands are below it to the foot. An exceedingly rare example! Size: 6.9" W x 7.75" H (17.5 cm x 19.7 cm)
This period is so named for the palace at Mycenae, famed in Homeric legend as the opulent seat of King Agamemnon. Excavations at the palace at Mycenae revealed an elite and long-lasting society with a great deal of wealth. This extended to the workshops of artisans who produced pottery like this vessel both for use in Greece and throughout the Mediterranean world; shiploads of similar jars went out as far as the Levant and Spain, carrying oil, wine, and other commodities.
For a stylistically-similar example, please see The Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession number 74.51.760: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/240347
Another stylistically-similar example hammered for $9,375 at Christie's, New York Antiquities auction (sale 2565, June 8, 2012, lot 55): https://www.christies.com/lotfinder/ancient-art-antiquities/a-mycenaean-pottery-stirrup-jar-late-helladic-5567195-details.aspx?from=searchresults&intObjectID=5567195&sid=a337711c-d583-4236-9851-e53b07f746a8
Provenance: private Alabama, USA collection; ex-Roy Green collection; ex-Royal-Athena Gallery, New York, New York, USA, acquired November 2, 2009; ex-private Munich, Germany collection, acquired in the 1980s; ex-private Dr. R. collection, Switzerland
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