Cypriot Composite ritual vessel with jug and bowls: Early Cypriot III - Middle Cypriot I (2100-1850BC)

Composite ritual vessel with jug and bowls

A very rare composite vessel in incised Red Polished Ware, combining symbolic bowls and jug above a larger container, perhaps to indicate the paraphernalia of the ritual funeral feast in one piece. Or possibly the main vessel would have contained wine or beer and the bowls used for offerings as in a kernos. This impractical vessel would have been made for the funeral feast to express and reinforce the prestige of the giver, as well as the importance of the dead person. I know of only one (very) similar piece, found by Buchhotz and Karageorghis in Lapithos (see Desmond Morris “The Art of Ancient Cyprus fig 72, p.94). The similarity of form is so great I believe this vessel must come from the same workshop in Lapithos, though the other one had no circles in the incised design.  The lower half is complete but the upper re-assembled from many fragments (originally quite crudely).  It was recently taken apart to check the parts were all original and the joins painted over when reassembled, which is not my preference.

Size: 42cm high

((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 sale of the entire museum collection Leland Little Auctions USA, 15th June 2018, (this piece lot )represents 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 all acquisition.)

(Aquired Charles Ede Ltd (London))

DJ 181