Ancient Greece, Mycenaean, Late Helladic IIIA, ca. 1400 to 1300 BCE. A fabulous wheel-thrown pottery jar of a tall pithos form with a flared discoid foot, a narrow stem, an inverted piriform body with a rounded shoulder, a squat neck with a flared lip that perhaps held a lid at one time, and a trio of petite loop handles spaced equidistantly around the shoulder. The cream-slipped vessel is embellished with black-slip decorations including concentric bands of varying widths around the lower body, repeating scales across the midsection and shoulder, and solid swaths along the neck and handles. An excellent example replete with sophisticated form and intricate motifs! Size: 4.875" W x 5.625" H (12.4 cm x 14.3 cm).
This period is so named for the palace at Mycenae, famed in Homeric legend as the opulent seat of King Agamemnon. Excavations at the palace at Mycenae revealed an elite and long-lasting society with a great deal of wealth. This extended to the workshops of artisans who produced pottery like this vessel both for use in Greece and throughout the Mediterranean world; shiploads of similar jars went out as far as the Levant and Spain, carrying oil, wine, and other commodities.
For a stylistically-similar example, please see The Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession number 74.51.753: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/240340
Another stylistically-similar example, of a somewhat larger form, hammered for $10,000 at Christie's Online "Storied Treasures: Antiquities from The Toledo Museum of Art" auction (sale 14572, October 19-26, 2016, lot 30): https://onlineonly.christies.com/s/storied-treasures-antiquities-toledo-museum-art/mycenaean-painted-pottery-piriform-jar-30/33705
Provenance: private Alabama, USA collection; ex-Roy Green collection; ex-Royal-Athena Gallery, New York, USA; ex-private E. Koutoulakis collection, Paris, France, acquired in 1991
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Original lid missing. One handle reattached to shoulder, with small chips and earthen stabilization material along break lines. Minor abrasions to foot, body, handles, and rim, with chips to areas of shoulder and body, light fading to original pigmentation, and minor encrustations. Nice earthen deposits and root marks throughout, and great traces of original pigmentation with areas of craquelure. Old inventory label beneath base.