Ancient Greece, Geometric period, ca. 8th century BCE. Skillfully cast via the lost wax (cire perdue) process, a lidded pyxis presenting an ever-so-slightly flattened globular body, a pair of wonderful bird protomes at the rim - the necks adorned by incised striations, and three conjoined rings adorning the lower end. The lid also shows bird protomes and a single vertical post/handle. This form of pyxis is called a "sickle" type, since its shape resembles that of a sickle, and was most likely used to hold perfumed oils or precious objects. Perforations just before the protomes of the lid and container were used to fasten the piece together in order to safeguard the contents and allow the pyxis to be suspended via the protruding central element with its double perforations. A wonderful example with a surface that presents lustrous, almost reflective areas as well as beautiful verdigris patina. Size: 3.5" W x 2.875" H (8.9 cm x 7.3 cm); 3.625" H (9.2 cm) on included custom stand.
Such pyxides have been found in necropoleis. Based upon the positioning of these pieces in the grave, experts believe that these pieces were suspended from the belts of the deceased. While two pyxides of a similar form were found at Samos, this type is believed to have originated in Macedonia.
Provenance: ex-Richard Wagner collection, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, 1960s
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