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Greek Early Cycladic Marble Kandila / Bowl

Greece, Cycladic culture, probably Early Cycladic, ca. 3200 to 2800 BCE. A heavy, hollowed out, roughly spheroid bowl standing on a round pedestal foot that was likely once taller. Four lugged handles stud the sides, clustered into two groups at the middle of the body. The neck is flared, with a rounded, unpronounced rim around the wide mouth. The surface has been smoothed, probably using sandstone, and is a pretty brown-grey marble color. This type of vessel is so named because it bears a strong resemblance to Greek church lamps. They seem to have been very popular forms during the Early Cycladic I period. They were made to hold liquids like oil or wine and could be suspended for storage from the holes drilled through the handles. This example is a rare one, as most have evenly spaced lugs. Size: 5" W x 4" H (12.7 cm x 10.2 cm)

The Cycladic Islands, located in the southwestern Aegean Sea, are rich in mineral resources, and as the Early Bronze Age began, ca. 3000 BCE, their iron and copper ores created local wealth. Artisans worked in stone, creating beautiful vessels like this one and the mysterious marble idols known as kilia. These marble objects ultimately wound up in tombs, and they have been found in burial sites in varying quantities - suggesting social stratification based on personal wealth, an important development in the formation of societies. The surface of these marble objects would have been painted with bright mineral pigments - blue azurite and red cinnabar.

See several similar examples at Christie's selling for between $9,450 and $269,000: _x000d_

Condition: Bottom of foot appears to be lost. Expected surface wear from age.

Provenance: private Swiss collection

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