During the late Bronze Age, a large number of ceramic items were manufactured in Cyprus and exported to the Holy Land for a daily purpose. Part of this group of imported pottery are jars known as ‘bilbil’, such as this fine example, distinguished by their burnished brown ware and the linear decorative patterns. The Holy Land was the first region to enter the Bronze Age, which began with the rise of the Mesopotamian civilisation of Sumer in the mid-4th millennium BC. The Bronze Age period covered an entire millennium. Pottery vessels dated to the Late Bronze Age have been widely excavated across the Holy Land, indicating the close association between terracotta vessels and the proto-urbanised life. One of the major discoveries about the period is the link between the Early Bronze Age and the First Dynasty of Egypt, which is based on the presence of Canaanite vessels among the funerary offerings in the royal tombs of the First Dynasty. These vessels have become one of the cornerstones in the chronology of the Near East in the Early Bronze Age period. Numerous other types of vessels are known from this area.
Large Cypriotic Bronze Age Earthenware ‘Bilbil’
A fine Cypriotic earthenware pouring vessel known an ‘bilbil’, standing on a ring-shaped foot. The ample bulbous body raises into a long narrow neck terminating with a flared mouth. A strap handle, decorated with incised parallel lines, connects the spout to the pronounced shoulder. The vessel displays a burnished dark brown surface enriched by bands in white-buff paint, which are executed in groups of parallel lines. These form horizontal bands around the neck and a crisscross pattern along the body.
Period: Late Bronze Age II
Provenance: From a German collection; acquired on the German art market before 1990. Then from a Surrey gentleman's collection (DG), purchased on the London Art Market from an ADA member, formed 1990's onward.
Condition: Very fine condition. A small chip to the base. Coarse surface due to particles in clay and minor chips; a scratch to the side of the body.