#hellenestic #silver #gilt and #blackened #bowl
late 3rd-2nd Century B.C.
This #extraordinary vessel was cast in a #mold, while a large part of the decoration and final additions were cold-worked after #casting (#carvings,#engravings, #incisions); the elements in very high relief were made separately and soldered. The decorated zone is covered with thin #gilding that perfectly adheres to the silver surface. The thickness of the silver is important and, when lifting the cup, one is surprised by its impressive weight.
The decoration is entirely comprised of the garland, which begins a few centimeters below the edge, and the base. By and large, the artisan followed a perfectly organized scheme, which observes a rigid and clear #symmetry; one can nevertheless notice a nice touch of fantasy, thanks to the presence of the animals (a fox or a wolf, birds with spread or closed wings) incised on top of the decorated zone, just below the #garland. The rest of the decoration is only based upon the #vegetal kingdom. The composition is arranged into three wreaths of different types (especially #acanthus leaves, the so-called Seleucid, with rounded edges), which spring from the central rosette and form a #star. The surface of the leaves, whose contours are in relief, is decorated with vertical ribs and #grooves (acanthus) or with half-circles resembling bird’s #feathers. A splendid and rare detail – even for related silver cups – consists in the large acanthus leaves #threedimentional tip, completely detached from the container’s surface. Between the largest leaves, stems with circular flowers (rosettes), spirals and engraved small dots complement the decoration. This shape (which also existed in gilded or #mosaicglass) is similar to one of the most distinct classes of Hellenistic #pottery, namely the so-called #Megaran bowls: their decorative design has the same structure, with various vegetal motifs springing from a central #rosette. This shape, especially attested to by silver examples, is of course very rarely made of metal; its pattern may be simply incised, in light relief, or, like here, in very high, almost modeled relief.#art #ancient #antiquities