Cypriot 3 body composite jug: Early Cypriot III (2100-2000 BC)

3 body composite jug

Early Bronze Age III- Middle Bronze Age I incised Red Polished Ware jug with 3 ovoid bodies, internally interconnected, and pale orange-brown slip. The lower necks of 3 jugs combine into one tall neck. A small half-circle handle immediately below the cut-away spout with lugs by each end, on both sides, and pierced lug opposite. The 2 upper lugs consist of a flattened pellet surmounted by a smaller flattened pellet and dot in the middle: in appearance reminiscent of eyes on Late Cypriot figurines. Five groups of 3 incised lines ring the neck continuing up the spout and onto the lower necks, interrupted by 3 groups of 4 vertical lines (front and sides). Each of the 3 jug bodies has an incomplete ring of grouped lines top and bottom, and between these, 2 rows of concentric circles (3 above and 2 below) and groups of parallel lines joining these, creating 3 triangles. Any white lime there may have been in the incisions has disappeared.

Such composite vessels come almost entirely from the North which was the focus of formal innovation, and good parallels are found at Bellapais-Vounous and Lapithos during EC III, in particular one from Tomb 15, No.50 which is so similar it must be from the same workshop. (Pl XXXI "The Excavations at Vounous-Bellapais in Cyprus 19312-2" P Daikos, Archaeologia 88 1938)

This elaboration of multiplied forms for their own sake was clearly intended to impress, rather than to be functional, and such pieces may have been created especially as funeral gifts to confirm and enhance the prestige of the giver and the kin group. They suggest that the North had a more hierarchical society than the rest of the island, which retained some of the egalitarian features present in the Chalcolithic. In other examples, such multiple vessels were topped by a fourth, superimposed body, or the 3 jugs can be one above another.

Complete but with some repairs of handle and spout and (probably) the linked bodies.

Cf. D Morris “The Art of Ancient Cyprus” 1985, p.91

Size: height 35.5cm

(Ex collection of Desmond Morris, bought after his book (pub.1985) from group lot of mostly Victorian pottery at a country auction (catalogued as Mediaeval).)

(Aquired Desmond Morris)

DJ 217 (Annex 198)