Ancient Greece, Athens, ca. late 5th to early 4th century BCE. A rare and remarkable pottery amphoriskos, molded in the form of an almond with a pointed base, a rounded shoulder, a corseted neck, and a flaring mouth flanked by twin ribbon-form handles. The exterior surface is adorned with a lovely stippling in order to mimic the texture of an almond, while a rich coat of black glaze envelops the neck, rim, and top of the handles, nicely complementing the bare, red terracotta of the vessel's body. A staple in the ancient Greek diet, almonds were important for their fruit and oil. This vessel likely would have held sweet and floral perfumes, a commodity in which almond oil was used as a binder. Size: 2.5" L x 1.9" W x 4.9" H (6.4 cm x 4.8 cm x 12.4 cm); 6.9" H (17.5 cm) on included custom stand.
Pottery vessels of the same form can be found at the Metropolitan Museum of Art under accession number 06.1021.206, as well as the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts as object number 86.166. A nearly identical example was sold for $7,500 as lot 67 at Christie's New York during their "Antiquities" auction on June 4th, 2015 (Live Auction 3748).
Provenance: ex-Harvey Sarner collection, Chicago, Illinois and Palm Springs, California, USA, before 1974
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Area of loss to rim. Expected surface wear with a few minor nicks. Otherwise, excellent with impressive remaining glaze and nice earthen deposits.