47 Phiale (Libation Bowl)
Greek, 4th c. B.C. e.
Gold; diam. 91/4 in. (23.5 cm), h. 13/4 in. (3.6 cm)
Libations were one of the most common religious rituals, and many contemporary representations of these ceremonies are preserved (on painted vases, for example). The offering was poured from a phiale, a special type of shallow bowl that fits comfortably (11to the palm of the hand and has a hollow in the center for the fingers. Such bowls are known mainly from examples in clay, bronze, and silver, and this is one of only five Greek phialai of gold. It is decorated with three concentric rows of acorns and one of beechnuts; in the interstices appear bees and highly stylized filling motifs. It is of Greek workmanship but, interestingly, has incised on the underside a weight inscription in Carthaginian letters. One can imagine its being the prized possession of a Carthaginian living in or trading with a Greek community. Rogers Fund, 1962, 62.11.1
Sunday, September 30, 2018
Greek libation bowl
From The Metropolitan Museum of Art Guide, 1983.