Ancient Greece, early Hellenistic Period, ca. late 4th to 3rd century BCE. An exquisite cast-bronze situla (Latin for bucket or pail) of a sizable form with a tapering body, an overhanging rim, and a pair of functioning handles, all atop a ringed pad foot. The flaring walls expand upward to a thick, incised stripe with one striation on top and a slender pair of striations below. A pair of palmettes project upward from either side of the rim, their outermost fronds bent downward to form attachment slots for the two bail handles with termini incised with a radiating starburst motif. Thick layers of green, russet, and brown patina cover most of the interior and exterior surfaces, though ample areas of the original golden-brown bronze color are still visible and vivid. The situla form was originally created for cooling and serving wine at banquets, though others were used to hold ashes or funerary offerings. Without a spout, this handled example was perhaps made specifically for mourning the dead. Size (w/ handles up): 8.125" W x 13.375" H (20.6 cm x 34 cm).
For a stylistically-similar example, please see the Museum of Cycladic Art, collection number Nr0732: https://cycladic.gr/en/exhibit/ng0732-kados-situla?cat=archaia-elliniki-techni
A stylistically-similar example of a slightly-smaller size hammered for $60,000 at Christie's, New York Antiquities auction (sale 3403, December 11, 2014, lot 105): https://www.christies.com/lotfinder/ancient-art-antiquities/a-greek-bronze-situla-hellenistic-period-circa-5859213-details.aspx?from=searchresults&intObjectID=5859213&sid=80425352-cc1e-488e-92dc-2ea3a76de57a
Provenance: private East Coast, USA collection; ex-William Froelich collection, New York, USA, acquired in the 1970s
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Professionally restored in a few small areas around the body to fill in small holes. Handles are moveable and still function. Slight bending to form of handles and rim, with light encrustations within basin, minor abrasions, and softening to some incised details. Nice earthen deposits as well as fabulous patina throughout. Areas of original golden-bronze bronze color visible.