Cypriot small string hole askos: (Middle Bronze Age) 1850 – 1750 BC

small  string hole askos

This is a tiny example of White Painted ware III-V  (String-hole style ware). Usually versions of this askos design are twice this scale. White painted ware is chiefly found in North East Cyprus, but String Hole Style was made in the Mesaoria plain. It was the precursor of Late Bronze Age White-Slip ware, but the pottery and slip is thicker and the painted decoration tends to cover everything, in contrast to the empty spaces and decorative bands of White Slip ware (see the Milk bowl below). Ascoi are vessels for oil or wine; here perhaps a small amount of oil, eg to fill lamps or pour a libation or anoint the dead. Many are in the form of animals, such as bulls (see LBA and EIA askoi), rams, goats or sitting birds. Though abstract, this one is suggestive of a bird or turtle. It is unusually small with 6 pierced lugs, a feature of earlier Bronze Age pottery, either pierced or un-pierced. Originally functional, they seem to have quickly become a decorative feature - only one would be needed to hang it by, by a string. (3 lugs broken and small hole in front) (Wrongly sold to me as Late Bronze Age.)


Size: 7.2 x 4.9cm

(Ex. private collection, Bedfordshire, UK; acquired 1950's-70s)

(Aquired Helios Gallery 2014)