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Byzantine Terracotta Bowl - Sea Wreck Find

Byzantine Empire, ca. 12th century CE. Glazed terracotta bowl for domestic use. Decorated with glazed interior and twin sgraffito panels on interior wall with abstract geometric pattern on interior base. Size: 7.825" W x 2.75" H (19.9 cm x 7 cm)

Byzantine pottery workshops that created glazed ware for domestic use based their designs on vessels made of silver or other precious metals. They used the technique called sgraffito, with the design incised through a white slip coating to reveal the red clay body beneath. These bowls were made and exported throughout the Empire. The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, has as part of its collection a very similar piece that was found in the Aegean. In the past few decades, there have been a tremendous amount of Byzantine shipwrecks discovered; for example, there is currently a major project excavating 37 individual wrecks from a site called Yenikapi, which was a port in Constantinople, that is being excavated as part of the construction of a new high speed rail tunnel under the Bosporus -- the largest collection of ships ever uncovered from a single site.

Condition: Chips to rim, exterior with sea encrusted surface else excellent

Provenance: private New Jersey USA collection, acquired over twenty years ago

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