In the Iron Age Mediterranean, handles and footless bronze bowls featuring hemispherical containers and curved profiles were richly ornamented with Greek and Etruscan motifs. In Greek times, such bronze bowls, sometimes with elaborately decorated figural and zoomorphic ornaments, were known as ‘phiale mesomphalos’ (ϕιάλη μεσόμφαλος). They are believed to have been used as a cremation container or a dedicatory offering in ancient Greece, in accordance with Homer’s literature. However, bronze bowls of this kind originated in the ancient Near East. They might have first been executed by the ancient Iranian artists, during the Iron Age. During the 8th century BC, cultural and military contacts between Assyria and Iran intensified, which allowed traditional Assyrian aesthetic tastes and fashions to have a greater impact on local Iranian arts. Differing from the Greek and Etruscan parallels that were normally used for religious occasions, ancient Near Eastern bronze bowls were used by the elite as a daily luxurious object.
Neo-Assyrian Bronze Bowl
A finely cast and hammered bronze bowl featuring a hemispherical container. Its slightly convex walls render an elegant continuously curved profile, ending in a narrow flat rim. The smooth inside displays a very neatly engraved central decoration comprising two concentric circles. The outer surface is smooth and unworked. The bowl is partially covered with the beautiful lustre of green patina and earthy encrustations.
Condition: Fine condition.