Cypro-Pheonician 'Pilgrim' Pottery Flask


Ca. 1125–1050 BC. Iron Age Cyprus. A pottery flask with a globular body, a short, narrow neck, and a slightly thickened rim; the two handles are oval in section and run from just below the rim to the shoulder. The vessel is wheel-made, thrown from the base, and features a fine and well levigated orange-red clay body decorated on each face with painted black concentric bands. The Mycenaean vertical globular flask is characteristic of the Late Helladic IIIA period and has an interesting pattern of distribution: it is relatively uncommon on the Greek mainland, where it is found mostly in funerary contexts, but it is very well represented in Egypt, Cyprus, and in the Levant. In Egypt, the Mycenaean ‘pilgrim flasks’, or to be more precise Mycenaean globular vertical flasks, were imported during the 18th Dynasty as containers for speciality oils and unguents. There, these flasks were produced in a variety of styles and materials, including pottery, glass, faience, and metal, from the early 18th Dynasty until the Coptic and Medieval periods. It is to these later examples that the shape owes its nickname, ‘pilgrim flask’, as small pottery flasks in this shape were produced in great number as souvenirs for the pilgrims visiting the sacred shrines in Egypt and the Near East. With time the term has lost its original association with pilgrimage and it has come to designate all two-handled lentoid flasks, regardless of their country of origin, date or function. To find out more:; for a very similar flask, see figure 2; also,;

Size: L:155mm / W:115mm ; 280.05g

Provenanace: Ex: Rhode Island collection, most of which was collected in the 1990s-early 2000s.

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