Greek/Mediterranean Region, Cyprus, Cypriot I, ca. 1600 to 1450 BCE. A large, handsome ceramic tankard with a bulbous lower body, small flared round foot, and tapering cylindrical upper body/neck that terminates in a thick, overhung rim. A strap handle with an abstract owl-like finial that rises above the rim is attached at the mouth and lower body. Black pigment creates narrow bands of diamonds and crosshatches in both horizontal and vertical lines. Size: 6.5" W x 10" H (16.5 cm x 25.4 cm)
This piece was de-accessioned from the Cesnola Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC - one of the original collections when the Met opened at its current site in 1880, and one of the major collections that the Met itself credits as establishing the Museum's reputation as a major repository of classical antiquities. Cesnola had a military career in Europe and in the American Civil War before he was appointed the American consul in Cyprus in 1865. During that time, he amassed an enormous collection of Cypriot antiquities, not just through purchase but also through his own excavations. Cesnola himself believed that he was to Cyprus what antiquarian Heinrich Schliemann was to Troy; he also hoped to find evidence for links between the Biblical and Classical worlds. Despite initial overtures to the Louvre and a successful exhibition in London, Cesnola ultimately accompanied his collection back to New York where, in 1877, he accepted a place on the Met's board of trustees; he went on to serve as the museums' first director from 1879 until his death in 1904.
Provenance: private Connecticut, USA collection; ex Luigi Palma di Cesnola (1832-1904), first director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1868-1873. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1873-1916. ex Edward Drummond Libbey (1894-1925), Toledo, gifted to the Toledo Museum of Art, 1916, accession no. 1916.120
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Repaired on underside from multiple pieces, with another on the mid-body. Small areas of wear with nice preservation of pigment in most areas.