Oinochoe with an Animal Scene

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Oinochoe with an Animal Scene

: Cypriot
: Cypriot Archaic I, circa 700-600 B.C.
: Ceramics
: H: 31.8 cm

Sotheby's London, Antiquities, July 9, 1994, lot 294.

: Complete and in very good condition, cracks partially repaired in the lower body. Slightly faded painting.


This large-sized vessel is characterized by a broad, perfectly globular belly surmounted by a trefoil neck, on which is attached a vertical, double ribbon handle. This object, which was made on a turning wheel, was modeled from separate elements that were assembled before the firing process: the body, the neck, the disk-shaped foot, the double-handle. The belly is richly decorated with concentric circles of various sizes, painted in dark brown and white, a leitmotiv in Cypriot pottery. The area is perfectly structured by the vertical and horizontal concentric circles, while other groups of circular lines of various sizes, sometimes painted in brown and white, are arranged on the spherical part of the body.

The two main patterns adorn the shoulder and the center of the belly: a quadruped (probably a bovid painted in white with a dark outline) is grazing in front of a plant, while a large two-colored wheel is represented slightly lower on the body.

This type of jug is well attested in Cypriot Archaic pottery, at the time of its peak. In the early 1st millennium, indeed, Cypriot potters started to free from the many external influences (Aegean, Mycenaean and Phoenician in particular), reaching their foremost achievement circa 750 B.C. Their success and creativity is less evident in the formal diversity than it is in the figural decoration adorning the large rounded surfaces of the vessels, which were directly inspired by the Greek geometric patterns. Unlike the shape and decorative structure, which perfectly fit into the framework of contemporary Cypriot pottery, the pastoral scene still has no attested parallel.


V. KARAGEORGHIS, Ancient Art from Cyprus, the Cesnola Collection in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2000, pp. 77 ff., p. 92, nos. 145 and 148.

T. SPITERIS, The Art from Cyprus, New York, 1970, p. 107.


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