Collection online


  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    This shallow gold libation bowl (phiale) is decorated with six bulls in relief. They have squarish heads and rather angular, though stocky, shapes. They have prominent ribs and very large cloven hooves. The bowl originally had a gemstone inlaid in the centre. To one side of this is a dotted crescent moon.


  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 600BC (circa)
  • Production place

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 3 centimetres
    • Diameter: 14.6 centimetres
    • Weight: 2893 grains
  • Curator's comments

    Perhaps a gift to a native Sicilian leader on the fringes of Greek influence in order to secure his friendship.Jenkins & Sloan 1996

    This bowl is said to have been found in an ancient tomb in the village of Sant'Angelo Muxaro, some ten miles away from Girgenti, Sicily.
    In 1769, according to one source, there were four bowls, two plain and two decorated with bulls, in the Episcopal Library at Girgenti. A canon there is reported to have sold two to an Englishman (Hamilton?), as though they had been the bishop's own property.
    The bowl is thought to be local Sicilian workmanship, but perhaps under the influence of contact with the Phoenicians.
    LITERATURE: D'Hancarville, MS Catalogue, p. 476; Rymsdyk, pl. 25; Houel; Carratelli, pp. 125-6, col. pl. 97.


  • Bibliography

    • Jenkins & Sloan 1996 140 bibliographic details
    • Jewellery 1574 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G73/dc72

  • Exhibition history


    1990, 24 Mar-10 Jun, Australia, Canberra, National Gallery of Australia, Civilization: Ancient Treasures from the British Museum, cat. no.54
    1990, 28 Jun-23 Sep, Australia, Melbourne, Museum of Victoria, Civilization: Ancient Treasures from the British Museum, cat. no.54
    2015, 23 Oct-23 Nov, Siracusa, Museo Archeologico Paolo Orsi, Tesori della Sicillia
    2015, 23 Nov-23 Dec, Agrigento, Biblioteca Lucchesiana, Tesori della Sicillia
    2015, Dec, Museo Archeologico di Sant'Angelo, Muxaro Tesori della Sicillia
    2016, 28 Apr-14 Aug, London, British Museum, Sicily: Culture and Conquest

  • Subjects

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Greek & Roman Antiquities

  • Registration number



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Object reference number: GAA4916

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