Collection online

The Basse-Yutz Flagons

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • The Basse-Yutz Flagons
  • Description

    One of a pair of copper alloy oinochoe or flagons. This object imitates the form of contemporary copper alloy flagons used by the Etruscans.
    This flagon is inlaid with coral and red glass 'enamel' at the foot, spout and handle. The body (including the sharply carinated shoulder and the neck) was beaten from a single sheet of copper alloy, and the foot collar, with its inlaid coral in place, was slipped over the bottom. The cast base was then put in place, with its edges turned up to cober the join at the sides. The beaked spout was set into a U-shaped cut-out in the body, and attached with rivets. The mouthplate was then affixed and turned over the top of the flagon, and the separatelty cast handle was also attached. The base was held in place by resin, which lines the whole of the flagon, and almost fills the poring spout.

    The vessel fittings are richly decorated. The handle is in the form of a dog or wolf, terminating below in a stylised human mask; two more canine figures ornament the lid. There is typical early La Tène palmette decoration under the spout, and a small duck ornaments the end of the spout.


  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 450 BC - 400 BC (circa)
  • Production place

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Type series

    • La Tène I
  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 396 millimetres
  • Curator's comments

    Pair with 1929,0511.2.

    These two bronze flagons were found in 1927 with two Etruscan bronze stamoi (vessels used for mixing wine by the classical Greeks and the Etruscans in Italy). (Flagons: 1929,0511.1 and 2; Stamnoi: 1929,0510.1 and 1929,0511.3). The flagons are two of the finest examples of Early Celtic or Early La Tène Art from anywhere in Europe. They were made in eastern France, but they copy the shape of bronze flagons made and used by the Etruscans in Italy at this time. The flagons were used for pouring wine, beer or mead at feasts.

    The grave where the objects were found was probably that of a very important person. Unfortunately it was dug up illegally, and not by archaeologists. Because of this little information survives about the grave or the other objects it contained.

    The flagons are inlaid with precious coral (now faded to white) from the Mediterranean coast, and red enamel (opaque red glass, probably from Asia Minor). They show a mixture of styles: the 'oriental' handles in the form of a dog or wolf was an idea from Greek or Etruscan art, but made in a local style; the palmette decorations under the spouts are a popular Celtic motif, though originally from Egypt, via Greece; the duck at the end of the spout is a purely native element of the decoration.

    This object featured in the BM/BBC Radio 4 Series A History of the World in an 100 Objects where it was called ‘Basse Yutz Flagons’.


  • Bibliography

    • Megaw & Megaw 1990 bibliographic details
    • MacGregor 2010 28 (part) bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Exhibition history


    2015-2016 24 Sep-31 Jan, London, BM, G30, 'Celts: Art and Identity'
    2010-2011, London, BM/BBC, 'A History of the World in 100 Objects'

  • Conservation

    See treatments 

    Treatment date

    24 May 1997

    Reason for treatment

    Permanent Exhibition

    Treatment proposal

    Light dusting and surface clean prior to new exhibition.


    Req 58078; Coated with dust and grime. Some pieces of coral are loose.

    Treatment details

    1997; Brushed with soft brush. Grime removed with cotton wool swabs dampened with Industrial methylated spirits (ethanol,methanol)

    About these records 

  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Found in 1927

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number


COMPASS Image Caption:View facing left

Front:Left Side

COMPASS Image Caption:View facing left

Image description



If you’ve noticed a mistake or have any further information about this object, please email: 

View open data for this object with SPARQL endpoint

Object reference number: BCB55705

British Museum collection data is also available in the W3C open data standard, RDF, allowing it to join and relate to a growing body of linked data published by organisations around the world.

View this object

Support the Museum:
donate online

The Museum makes its collection database available to be used by scholars around the world. Donations will help support curatorial, documentation and digitisation projects.

About the database

The British Museum collection database is a work in progress. New records, updates and images are added every week.

More about the database 


Work on this database is supported by a range of sponsors, donors and volunteers.

More about supporters and how you
can help