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A fine Cypro-Archaic Bichrome ware Amphora, ca. 8th century B.C. - Sands of Time Ancient Art
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A fine Cypro-Archaic Bichrome ware Amphora, ca. 8th century B.C.

Period: Cypro-Geometric III–Cypro-Archaic I
Date: 1st half of 8th century B.C.
Geography: Cyprus. 
Medium: Clay

Used for storing liquids or grain, this lovely amphora is a rare example of the Bichrome IV-V Ware style.  The slightly elongated globular body, supported by a small circular foot, has a cylindrical neck ("collar rim") and two, semi-circular handles applied just below the small rounded shoulder.  This style of vessel is not a very common shape, as attested by the Cesnola collection at Harvard, who note this form type was influenced by the Carthaginian tophet jars.  Over the beige-coloured background, the exterior is decorated with regular, well executed bands of dark brown/black pigment that contrast well with the red infill.  The upper body features a  lozenge frieze that is surmounted by a rectangular and line pattern on the shoulder, similar to that found on a terracotta skyphos in the Cesnola collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession number:  74.51.590.   Short brown brush strokes, similar to ladder-rungs, arch across each handle between small black dots.  Such fine execution of design clearly demonstrates the workmanship and technical skill of the artist. 

Dimensions: Height:  9 1/2 inches (24 cm) Width:  9 1/2 inches (24 cm).

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.

Condition: Vertical hairline crack along the body, and, with a vessel of this size, expected minor chips  small loss to lip; none of which detract, the vessel presents very well and is intact and in excellent overall condition.    

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