Cypriot Tall necked bottle II: Middle Bronze AgeI -IIa (2000-1800 BC)
Red and Black Polished Ware was first included in Red Polished IV Ware by Stewart (1962), and dated (MC II-III) from what is still the only provenanced example (tomb 6 at Ayios Iakovos). It was identified as a ware from 22 examples of bowls and bottles by Herscher in 1973 and re-dated MC I- early II. Certainly it seems out of place against the backdrop of crude wares in the unsettled MC III. Morris identified and studied 200 more, including 2 tulip bowls almost identical to this. All are extremely precisely decorated with fine lines (here 9-10 lines per cm) and a unique repertoire of design motifs. Circles and horizontal zig-zags disappear. The amount of red and black varies hugely in different examples, but is unlike Red Mottled and Red Black Topped Wares, typically varying from side to side. Some of the ware is anomalous in the Middle Cypriot and would make more sense extended back into EC III, with this bowl, No.78 and No.21 becoming simply late uses of these forms. With no sanctioned digging in the region since the 1974 Turkish invasion, the dating range still awaits clarification. I also have 2 other tall-necked bottles, a large bowl, a small bowl and a small tulip bowl in this ware.
Similar to my other tall necked, Red-Black Polished Ware bottle from the Karpass area, but the red part restricted only to the bottom and part of one side of the body. Mostly it appears like Black Polished Ware. This bottle is heavier and broader, and with slightly less delicate markings, but the design, though slightly clumsy compared to most of this type is very individual and unlike any other I have seen, almost as though trying out something new. One interesting detail is that some of the blank black areas do not have a line around them but are defined by the ends of the parallel white lines. As is most often the case the lip is pierced, perhaps to hang it up or secure a stopper. It was part of Desmond Morris's collection of over 100 of these bottles which he sold just before I bought it in 2019. He attributed a number of these bottles to particular makers. This one is in the group he called "The Tiered Diamond Artist. Style B"
Published: Desmond Morris: The Art of Ancient Cyprus 1985 p351, Plate 318a
Size: 21cm high
(Ex Desmond Morris collection (acquired 1985 or earlier))
(Aquired Art Ancient, London 7th June 2019)