Basse Yutz Flagons
Basse-Yutz, Lorraine, France, Iron Age, about 450 BC
Among the finest survivals of Early Celtic art, these two bronze flagons were found in 1927. They were discovered alongisde two Etruscan bronze stamoi (vessels used for mixing wine by the classical Greeks and the Etruscans in Italy).
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.
Early Celtic, or La tène, art
Early Celtic art is the popular name given to the decorative styles of Europe, from Ireland to Romania, from 500 BC to AD 100.
The people of Iron Age Europe were farmers. They harvested wheat, barley and beans in small fields and reared animals such as cattle, sheep and pigs.
Iron Age world culture
R. Megaw and V. Megaw, The Basse-Yutz find: masterpie (London, Society of Antiquaries of London, 1990)
M. Caygill, The British Museum A-Z compani (London, The British Museum Press, 1999)
Height: 39.6 cm
Width: 19.5 cm
Height: 39.6 cm
P&EE 1929 5-11 1-2