Ancient Greece, early Hellenistic Period, ca. 4th to 3rd century BCE. An elegant hammered-bronze vessel known as a situla used for holding funerary offerings or the cremated remains of the deceased. The vessel features a circular body atop a squat foot, a deeply corseted shoulder, a flared rim with a decorative scalloped lip, and a cavernous basin. A pair of claw-footed tabs house integral suspension rings from which hangs an arched bale handle bearing upturned duck head terminals. Mottled layers of brown and green patina have enveloped the vessel and handle. The situla form was originally created for cooling and serving wine at banquets, so this example perhaps once held fruited wine as a burial offering. Size: 6.4" W x 9.2" H (16.3 cm x 23.4 cm); 9.875" H (25.1 cm) on included custom stand.
A stylistically similar example made from silver hammered for GBP 12,500 ($15,955) at Bonhams, London, New Bond Street "Antiquities" auction (October 23, 2013, lot 224).
Provenance: private Orange County, California, USA collection, acquired before 2000
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Repair to midsection of bale handle with adhesive residue along break line, and restoration to foot with small losses and adhesive residue along break lines. Bale handle and claw-foot tabs are ancient but likely not original to the vessel; adhesive residue behind tab bodies. Slight bending to overall form of scalloped lip and handle, with abrasions to handle, rim, body, and base, softening to some finer details, and scattered encrustations. Nice earthen deposits and fabulous patina throughout. Old inventory label beneath foot.