Delicate Byzantine Calcite Alabaster Bowl

$440.60

A Syro-Byzantine alabaster bowl featuring thick convex walls. The bowl is decorated to the outside with a series of  rows of concentric circle and dot motifs. The circular motif continues on the rim and down the sloping walls of the bowl in vertical bands. The base of the bowl remains flat.

Date: Circa 6th-7th century AD
Provenance: Ex Christies Auction, Fine Art, Wednesday 26th November 1980, lots 71-72, part of.
Condition: Very fine. Some earthly encrustations and chips to the rim. Some pigmentation still visible.

In stock

The dot-and-circle motif was one used across cultures and times. It is thought it possibly served an apotropaic purpose by warding of the evil eye, although this has not been verified fully. The motif was used frequently on Near Eastern, Coptic and Byzantine art, as a decorative motif, suggesting that its apotropaic importancy crossed cultures or that the motif simply became decorative over time.

The alabaster used by ancient civilisations in the wider Middle East (including Egypt and Mesopotamia) is also called “oriental alabaster”, or calcite alabaster. Many ancient people used alabaster for decoration, as it was easy to carve and could be treated in such a way as to resemble marble. The name “alabaster” is thought to have derived from the Ancient Egyptian, ‘a-labaste‘, which refers to the vessels of the goddess, Bastet. Usually depicted as a lioness, her figure would often sit on top of alabaster vessels.

Weight 295.7 g
Dimensions W 9.5 x H 4.3 cm
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