East Greek, Phrygian, ca. 7th to 6th century BCE. A mesmerizing terracotta bull rhyton, the bovine's visage presenting a penetrating gaze with enormous almond-shaped eyes, a prominent snout delineated with recessed nostrils, pointed horns in high relief, and petite ears below. One can discern traces of the bull's decorative bridle rendered by the artist with russet red and umber/black pigments. Imbuing the vessel with even more charm, traces of decorative motifs adorn the neck. A strap handle joins the neck to the underside of the bull's head for easy handling, and there is a perforation at the mouth for pouring libations. The vessel, while in many respects realistic, simultaneously demonstrates the artist's creative stylized approach. Size: 7.75" L x 6.375" W x 6.125" H (19.7 cm x 16.2 cm x 15.6 cm); 7.8" H (19.8 cm) on included custom stand.
Rhytons like this example demonstrate the ancients' refined taste for special tableware, and this piece was probably used both as a drinking cup and as a pouring vessel to decant wine into drinking bowls during festive banquets; it may also have been made solely to grace a high status tomb. Zoomorphic forms like this one were popular throughout the Classical world, and bulls symbolized power, signifying virility and masculinity, qualities prized above all others in the classical world.
This piece was published in Fortuna Fine Arts: Venerable Traditions, New York, Entry #3, 2007.
Cf. Sale catalogue, The Ernest Brummer Collection, Vol. II, Galerie Koller and Spink & Son, Zurich, 16-19 October 1979, p. 357, no. 713, for a parallel example.
A Phrygian polychrome bull head rhyton sold for 9,600 GBP ($12,469) at Christie's London - 20 April 2005 - Lot 83.
This piece has been tested using thermoluminescence (TL) analysis and has been found to be ancient and of the period stated. A full report will accompany purchase.
Provenance: private Lewis collection, Florida, USA; ex-private East Coast, USA collection before 2007
All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.
A Certificate of Authenticity will accompany all winning bids. PLEASE NOTE:
Due to recent increases of shipments being seized by Australian & German customs (even for items with pre-UNESCO provenance), we will no longer ship most antiquities and ancient Chinese art to Australia & Germany.
For categories of items that are acceptable to ship to Australia or Germany, please contact us directly or work with your local customs brokerage firm.
Display stands not described as included/custom in the item description are for photography purposes only and will not be included with the item upon shipping.
Repairs to rim, one ear, beneath right jowl, and some areas atop head, with possible restoration to areas behind top of head, and resurfacing with overpainting along new material and break lines. Petite area of restoration on top of rim from perforation. Losses to areas of one horn and both ears as shown. Abrasions and nicks to rim, handle, horns, ears, eyes, snout, and base, with fading to original pigmentation, and light encrustations. Attractive remains of original pigment, light earthen deposits, and great root marks throughout. One TL drill hole beneath top of rim.