Height: 8.400 cm
Diameter: 15.000 cm
Bequeathed by Dr Anna Maria Berso
Room 22: Alexander the Great
Gilded silver bowl
Hellenistic, about 150-100 BC
Said to be from Bulgaria
Gilded silver bowl with floral decoration
Fine craftsmanship flourished in the Hellenistic age, as the expansion of the Greek world opened new markets to artisans and their employers. Precious materials such as gold and silver became more readily available, and the increase in private wealth created a new demand for skills in working them. Certain centres, such as Alexandria in Egypt, became famous for the production of luxury goods, but the goods themselves travelled widely, and often ended up far from their place of manufacture.
This fine gilded silver bowl is said to have come from Bulgaria, and many rich items have been discovered on the fringes of the Greek world, perhaps because local rulers wanted to seem fashionably Greek in their taste, and were sometimes more ostentatious than the Greeks themselves. The plants decorating this bowl in relief consist of large acanthus leaves flanked by lotus leaves and flowers, with a large central flower underneath.