Holy Land Decorated Amphoriskos


A terracotta amphoriskos from the Holy Land, decorated with a red slip pattern. The vessel features two pierced lugs at the shoulders, just below a wide-lipped neck. The body is bulbous with a flattened base, as is typical of the amphoriskos form. The body is decorated with a pleasing red slip, painted onto the clay vessel: an array of diagonal lines meet in the centre of the neck, giving way to a triangular shape, which is filled with vertical curved lines in turn. This is known as ‘line-group painting’.

Date: Circa 3100 - 3300 BC
Provenance: From the largest collection of Holy Land pottery assembled, by descent from a deceased gentleman to his grandchildren in the late 1980's. Dispersed to Switzerland and London between 1988-1992.
Condition: Good, some wearing of the slip due to age, some mild earth encrustations and aged chips around the lip.


SKU: EH-148 Category: Tags: ,

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-fourth millennium BC. The Bronze Age then went on to span an entire millennium. The presence of Canaanite vessels among the funerary offerings in the royal tombs of the First Dynasty of Egypt has revealed an important link between this period and the Early Bonze Age. These vessels have become a cornerstone in the chronology of the Near East in the Early Bronze period. Numerous other types of vessels are known from this area.

The amphoriskos was a vessel which characterised the Early Bronze Age period, both in Southern and Northern culture. It was similar to an amphora, but generally smaller in scale and with a wider mouth. It would have served a practical purpose, being used for the storage of liquids, but the painted decoration suggests that it served a decorative purpose too.

Weight 229.4 g
Dimensions W 8.4 x H 8.3 cm


Pottery and Porcelain

Reference: For a similarly decorated and shaped vessel see Photo 40; Amiran, R. 1969 Ancient Pottery of the Holy Land.

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