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A Cypriot White Painted V Tankard, Middle Cypriot III-Late Cypriot IA, ca. 1750-1600 BC

This elegant tankard is an excellent example of a White-Slip Tankard; the elongated body with wide flaring mouth, was firstly covered in a white slip, and then painted with bands of geometric motifs in dark brown pigment, while the base is decorated with a pattern of criss-cross lines; small,  semi-circular handles are applied to the center of the body. 

The tankard, with its long neck and globular body was probably a drinking vessel. The two handles are well positioned in order to hold the vessel with both hands while drinking.   Its shape indicates that the tankard was modeled off of metal prototypes, a common practice for ancient potters. 

Background:  White painted ware was popular in the Middle Cypriot II period. The style covered the vessel in linear geometric patterns. This vase was created later in the period because of the black matte paint rather than glossy red that would have been used in the earlier style of white painted ware. Two White Painted V Tankards with animal form handles, Middle Cypriot III-Late Cypriot IA (c. 1750-1600 BC), NM 53.101 and NM 53.100. Both excavated from Stephania Tomb 10, by Australian Basil Hennessy in 1951. The handles of both vases are shaped like dogs.

Dimensions:  Height: 14.5 cm (5 3/4 in), width: 12.7 cm (5 in), diameter:  10 cm (4 in)

Condition:  Expected minor losses to polychrome otherwise the vessel is intact and in very good condition overall.    

Provenance:   The William R. Crawford collection of Ancient Glass and Antiquities, acquired in Cyprus prior to 1972 .  This piece is accompanied by a copy of the export license  issued to Mr. Crawford by Republic of Cyprus, Department of Antiquities.     William R. Crawford, a retired American career diplomat and expert on the Middle East and Cyprus, was Director of Arab-Israeli Affairs at the State Department between 1959-1964, and Deputy Chief of Mission in Cyprus thereafter.  In the 1970's, he was ambassador to Yemen and then to Cyprus and later became principal deputy assistant secretary of state for Near East and South Asian affairs.  He donated part of his collection to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts prior to his death in 2002.

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