Cypriot Red Polished Ware bowl: Early - Middle Bronze Age (2300-1750 BC)

Red Polished Ware bowl

This is the basic and most common artefact of the Cypriot Bronze Age.  The basic shape, size and ware (covered in a red slip made from iron rich clay) is found through the Early and Middle Bronze Ages, either with the top edge (as here) turning slightly inward, or lower and more open. There is also a slightly smaller version which is less common.  There are also variants which are decorated with incised lines which were then filled with clay, and/or with a black inside and top edge, or it could have patches of black, or be fired in a low oxygen, reducing atmosphere until it was entirely black.  There is also a drabber version (where the slip can vary in tone considerably) known as Drab Polished Ware. These were individual eating and drinking bowls which would have been held in the hand.  There is a single pierced lug for suspension.     Although almost all Early Bronze Age tombs contained Red Polished bowls, in the Early Bronze Age they were more commonly decorated.  In the Middle Bronze Age they became more numerous and were now mostly plain. These had almost certainly been used in the funeral feast and indicate a larger number of people taking part and giving this basic gift.  

Almost perfect condition.

Size: 8.8. x 13.7cm

(Ex Museum of Cyprus, Jacksonville, New Carolina, USA. Assembled by Dr Takay Crist after the Turkish invasion of North Cyprus and opened to the public as a museum in 1988. This century the museum has not made significant acquisitions. It consisted of antiquities, documents, maps paintings and artefacts and was endorsed and by the President of Cyprus and the ambassador, as saving the antiquities from the market and making them available to the public and for study. The auctioning of the entire museum collection on June 5th 2018 was a betrayal of the trust of Cyprus and almost all record of the provenance and history of the pieces seems to have been lost, including their dates of acquisition.)

(Aquired Galerie Ostrakon, Switzerland, December14th 2018)

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