Ancient Greece, Mycenaean Period, Late Bronze Age, ca. 14th to 13th century BCE. A beautiful wheel-thrown pottery pyxis with a slightly concave base, a wide cylindrical body with squat walls, a sloped shoulder donned with a trio of petite arching handles, and a flared rim. The beige-slipped vessel is densely decorated with red-painted concentric circles on the base, layered rings coursing around the body, lattice-style patterns around the shoulder, and a solid layer of pigment on the rim. A fine example of Mycenaean pottery replete with elegant style and intricate embellishments. Size: 3.5" W x 2.3" H (8.9 cm x 5.8 cm).
The Mycenaean period is so named for the palace at Mycenae, famed in Homeric legend as the opulent seat of King Agamemnon - excavations there 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 pyxis both for use in Greece and throughout the Mediterranean world; shiploads of similar pyxis jars went out as far as the Levant and Spain, carrying oil, wine, and other commodities.
A stylistically-similar example, with taller walls and a protruding rim, hammered for $7,050 at Christie's, New York "Ancient Greek Vases" auction (sale 9448, June 12, 2000, lot 3): https://www.christies.com/lotfinder/lot/a-mycenaean-pyxis-circa-13th-century-bc-1818185-details.aspx?from=searchresults&intObjectID=1818185&sid=683f1640-b93d-4ce4-a5d1-9c4f9a699699
Provenance: private Alabama, USA collection; ex-Roy Green collection; ex-Royal-Athena Gallery, New York, USA; ex-Kurashiki Ningawa Museum, Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan
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Minor abrasions to base, body, handles, and rim, with a few petite excisions, light fading to original pigmentation, and minor encrustations, otherwise intact and very good. Light earthen deposits and great traces of original pigment throughout. Old inventory label beneath base.