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Mycenaean Pottery Kalathos w/ Striated Design

Ancient Greece, Mycenaean, Middle Helladic II to Late Helladic II, ca. 1900 to 1400 BCE. A sizable wheel-thrown kalathos (or basket) with a slightly-concave discoid base, an inverted bell-shaped body with gently-expanding walls, an everted rim, and a pair of applied strap handles. The majority of the vessel is covered in red slip motifs of concentric circles atop a tan ground, with zigzagging bands decorating the shoulder exterior as well as atop the rim. The outer surface of each handle is covered in thick red slip, with large bulbs of pigment surrounding the terminals. A rare and finely-constructed example of ancient Mycenaean pottery! Size: 10.125" W x 4.875" H (25.7 cm x 12.4 cm).

The kalathos (sometimes calathus) is a large pottery vessel used as a basket for carrying fruit, wool, or other physical items. Typical kalathoi were woven from reeds and sticks and were used in fields for gathering or in the home for storage or transportation. Pottery versions of the kalathos usually replicated the style of the woven baskets, often including painted or glazed motifs which mimic the weaving as is the case with this example. Kalathoi were generally made of a more substantial size, enabling them to carry greater quantities of produce or wool; however, smaller versions of the vessel were created to hold numerous smaller items like berries or seeds. Diminutive examples are exceedingly rare, though this example is one of superb quality and exceptional rarity.

For a stylistically-similar example from the later Cypriot culture, please see The Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession number 74.51.1137: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/240724

This piece has been tested using thermoluminescence (TL) analysis and has been found to be ancient and of the period stated. A full report will accompany purchase.

Condition: Small area of rim and upper body professionally restored, with resurfacing and overpainting along break lines. Light fading to some areas of pigmentation, minor nicks to rim, handles, body, and foot, and light encrustations. Nice earthen deposits as well as traces of pigmentation throughout. Great craquelure on some colored areas. Two TL-test drill holes: one beneath base, and one just beneath rim along the interior.

Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection; ex-Richard Wagner collection, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA, acquired in the 1970s

All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.

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