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’. 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 eigth century BC, cultural and military contacts between Assyria and Iran intensified, which allowed traditional Assyrian aesthetical 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 Neo Assyrian bronze bowl, featuring an elongated oval shape. The vessel has a flat base which gently curves into its convex walls, creating a continuously curved profile. The walls lead to a wide and straight rim which is slightly uneven causing the sides to marginally vary in height. The bowl has maintained its beautiful sheen, and has minimal green patination to its surface.
Condition: Very fine condition. Some earthly encrustation to the rim.