Height: 17.750 cm
Diameter: 38.000 cm
Room 13: Greece 1050-520 BC
Bowl with basket-like handles and female heads on the rim
Greek, around 600 BC
Made in Chios, Southern Aegean; from the Sanctuary of Aphrodite, Naukratis, Egypt
Dedicated to Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty
This bowl is painted in the 'Wild Goat' style: wild goats and other animals and birds stalk the inner and outer walls, while moulded female heads decorate the rim and handles. The bowl was found in the Sanctuary of Aphrodite at Naukratis, a Greek trading settlement in the Nile Delta. The graffito scratched inside the rim records its dedication to Aphrodite by a man named Sostratos.
The Greeks came to Egypt mainly to acquire corn, though they may also have been interested in Egyptian linen. In exchange they are likely to have brought wine, olive oil, and most importantly silver, in the form of coins. Greek writers tell us that the Egyptian king Amasis (570-526 BC) gave land at Naukratis to the Greeks. However, archaeological evidence reveals that the site was in use by Greeks long before Amasis' reign. At Naukratis the Greeks were free to worship their own gods, and much of the pottery found there is scratched or painted with messages recording dedications to Zeus, Apollo, Hera, Aphrodite or the Dioskouroi. The types of pottery found, and the fact that dedicators sometimes named their native cities, indicate that the principal users of the settlement were either from the East Greek cities or from the island of Aigina.
L. Burn, The British Museum book of Gre (London, The British Museum Press, 1991)
J. Boardman, The Greeks overseas, revised and enlarged edition (London, Thames and Hudson, 1980)
J. Boardman, Early Greek vase painting: 11t (London, Thames and Hudson, 1998)