Greek Geometric Pottery Amphora and Lid

SKU: MS.0025

Origin: Mediterranean
Circa: Geometric Period, c. 8th century BC
Dimensions: 11.5" Height x 6" Width, 12.5" Height including lid (29.2cms x 15.25cms; 31.75cms)
Medium: Terracotta

This amphora is a well formed example of the Geometric period, decorated in dark brown slip with horizontal bands including short vertical lines, blind lozenge chain, hatched double leaves, 'X's with hatching in the interstices and hatched meander separated by vertical lines on the shoulders, and hatched meander on the neck. A well fitted-knobbed lid with concentric circles, alternating thin to thick, with vertical lines at the edge, and a small swastika within a circle on the knob.

Anonymous sale; Sothebys, London, 10-11 December 1992, lot 502. London art market. Anonymous sale; Christies, New York, 7 December 2006, lot 71. Swiss art market

Amphora: Intact. The illustrated side is in good condition with strong colours still remaining. The unillustrated side has more loss to the painted decoration with ghosts of the pattern remaining, eg on shoulders and neck in particular. Chip to edges of one handle. General nicks and pitting to the surface overall including a circular flaked chip to the lower body on illustrated side (visible in illustration).
Lid: made from a lighter beige colour clay than the amphora. It balances on top of the rim of the amphora. Various flaked chips around the edges and to the knob. Wear and flaking to the painting decroation in patches.

The Geometric style emerges in Athens in the 9th century BC. This style is most associated with the period's pottery, characterized by repeating bands of linear decoration, often filled by cross-hatching, which covers the majority of the vessel's body, creating a uniform decoration. These regulated decorational schemes are occasionally interrupted by representations of humans and animals, the latter being more common. Humans were more often seen on incredibly large amphorae made as grave markers.

This example was more likely used as a storage vessel than any ritual or ceremonial purpose.



Greek Geometric Pottery Amphora and Lid


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