Height: 23.000 cm
Gift of J.T. Bent
Room 11: Cycladic Islands
Early Bronze Age, about 3200-2800 BC
From the Cyclades, Aegean Sea
Made using only stone tools
This marble beaker was made in the earliest period of the production of Cycladic stone vases. They were made in a range of shapes and sizes. This beaker is one of the larger, and a considerable amount of time and effort would have been spent in its manufacture. The technology of the islands at this early stage had scarcely emerged from the Neolithic (New Stone Age) state, with metals only rarely available. Therefore, such vases must have been blocked out using stone hammers - perhaps of emery, a dense and heavy stone occurring naturally on Naxos - and hollowed, possibly using wooden drills with powdered emery as an abrasive. Obsidian, the glass-like volcanic stone from Mílos, may have been used for some carving processes, particularly of details, while Theran pumice may have been used as a polishing agent.
J.L. Fitton, Cycladic art, 2nd ed. (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)