This ancient Greek phiale mesomphalos (libation bowl) dates to the Hellenistic period (ca. fourth- second century BC). Phialai were wide shallow cups and some of them displayed a boss in the centre (omphalos). They were used for pouring libations to the gods and for drinking on more ordinary occasions as attested by several literary sources. Pindar, for instance, says:
“ἐγκιρνάτω τίς νιν (…) ἀργυρέαισι δὲ νωμάτω φιάλαισι βιατὰν ἀμπέλου παῖδ ̓’ “Let someone mix the wine now (…) and distribute in the silver phialai the strong child of the vine.”(Pind. N. 9.51f)
The body of this silver phiale mesomphalos was hammered from a single sheet. The interior is decorated with a series of tight repousse petals radiating from the central omphalos. This is an extraordinary object because very few Classical Greek silver plates survive today, so it adds a touch of uniqueness to any interior.
Size: L:55mm / W:135mm ; 134g
Provenance: From the private collection of West London collector (M.A.); formerly in 1980s British collection.