Cypriot Small “tulip” bowl/conical cup: Early Cypriot III (2300-2100BC) - Middle Cyprio I

Small “tulip” bowl/conical cup

Red Polished Ware "Tulip bowl" with partly black-top. Conical beaker with 2 pierced, pointed lug handles by the rim, decorated with incised lines filled with white lime. Double lines by rim and base and between them vertical features: bunches of zig-zags, hatched diamonds, two larger, hollow hatched diamonds containing groups of dots. Also groups of dots alternating with patches of unbounded diagonal lines. The pointed base would have compelled the drinker to empty it before it was put down, or to pass it to someone else.  

This is a small version of a shape normally believed to date only from Early Bronze Age I-II in North Cyprus, especially around Bellapais Vounous.   However the appearance belies this. In particular the hollow, hatched and outlined diamonds, as here, as well as the simple zig-zag inside a triangle are only known from the Middle Bronze Age in the Karpas (NE Cyprus). They are found in Red and Black ware from the Karpas on larger bowls and tall necked bottles which Desmond Morris made a study of (see my two).

The bottles were dated by by Stewart (1962), as MC II-III from what is still the only provenanced example (tomb 6 at Ayios Iakovos). Red and Black Ware was identified as a ware from 22 examples by Herscher  and dated MC I- early II.  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. The ware is anomalous in the late MC and would make more sense in ECIII-MCI, with the tulip bowls becoming simply late use of these forms. With no sanctioned digging in the region since the 1974 Turkish invasion, the dating range still awaits clarification

Reassembled from 5 pieces, otherwise good condition.

Size: 9.6cm high

(Ex Private collection, Germany, of O Schwarzwälder since 1980.)

(Aquired Acquired from Gerhard Hirsch Nachfolger, Munich, auction 367 lot 1136.1)

DJ 230 (Annex 210)