Bronze wheeled vessel stand

Made in Cyprus
About 1225-1100 BC

A masterpiece of technology

This is one of the very few virtually complete Cypriot vessel stands on wheels. The cast ring shows a frieze of animals. These include pairs of lions attacking a creature, perhaps a man, and a grazing deer. The main decoration, in the openwork technique, is in two unequal registers. One side shows, in the upper register, a sphinx wearing a flat cap of the type common in Mycenaean Greece and Crete, and in the lower, two birds. Also familiar in Mycenaean Greece is the lion in another scene who, moving to the right, grips a long-necked water-bird by the neck. The lower register of this scene is in poor condition, but perhaps originally showed dolphins. A two-horse chariot with driver and passenger moves to the right in the next upper register. It has six-spoke wheels (like the stand itself) and the light cab has a quiver hanging on the side. The lower register may show three water-birds. In the fourth upper register a seated figure playing a stringed instrument is approached by two figures of whom the first plays a similar stringed instrument. The third figure, evidently a serving boy, carries a jug in his right hand and raises a stemmed cup to face level in his left. In the lower register a long-necked water-bird attacks a fish or dolphin.

The technical skills of casting, hard soldering and hammering, and the openwork technique, which would have been required to make this vessel stand, are among those adopted at this time by Cypriot bronze workers under influence from Mycenaean Greece, Egypt and the Near East.

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More information

Bibliography

V. Tatton-Brown, Ancient Cyprus, 2nd ed. (London, The British Museum Press, 1997)

H.W. Catling, Cypriot bronzework in the Myce (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1964)

Dimensions

Height: 31.000 cm
Diameter: 15.000 cm

Museum number

GR 1946.10-17.1

GAA3311

Bequeathed by Miss H.R. Levy

Location

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