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X-Large and Mint Greek Attic Glaux Skyphos with Standing Owls

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Ancient World: Greek: Pre AD 1000: Item # 1356502
Apolonia Ancient Art
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290 Fillmore St. #D
Denver, CO. 80206
303-321-7351 gallery

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This mint quality and extra large Greek Attic vessel is a "glaux type" skyphos that dates circa 475-450 B.C. In the Beazley Archive of vessel shapes, this type of vessel is also classified as a "Type B" skyphos. This large vessel is approximately 7.25 inches wide from handle to handle, and is 3.5 inches high. This piece is much larger than other examples of this type, and it has a larger field on each side of the vessel for the painted decorative elements that are seen on this attractive vessel. These decorative elements are two standing owls, which are each framed by two olive sprays, and are seen on each side of the vessel. Each of the standing owls are approximately 2.7 inches high, which is also the approximate height that this type of vessel is usually found. This piece also has a very distinctive design feature, which is that one handle is seen attached to the vessel in a vertical fashion, and the other in a horizontal fashion. This handle design also refers to the common name that this type of vessel is known as, and this vessel type is often referred to as a "glaux shyphos". This esoteric vessel also has a rim wall that curves gently inward towards the rim, a single black centering circle seen on the bottom of the footed base, and a row of dots that frames the face of each owl. Each owl also has short stubby legs, and straight lines that form the design of the wing that is facing the viewer. These design features are also found on the standing owls that are seen on the silver coinage of Athens that is contemporary with the vessel offered here. In addition, the composition seen on this piece is balanced on a ground line that circles the piece. The standing owl was also sacred to Athena, who was the patron goddess for the city of Athens. It may also be likely that the type of vessel offered here may have had a ceremonial and/or ritual purpose, and was offered as a votive type vessel. This may also explain why this vessel is in mint condition, with no cracks or chips, and is seen in it's pristine "as found" condition. This beautiful piece also has some spotty white calcite deposits, seen mostly in the low relief sections of the vessel, and a vibrant deep black glaze that highlights the design features that are rendered in a dark orange color. Another analogous vessel of this type, and of the more common smaller size, was offered by Royal Athena Galleries, New York, 2016; Ex J.M.E. collection, Sotheby's London, May 1987. (See attached photo.) The piece offered here is an exceptional example seldom seen in this size and condition. Ex: Private Austrian collection, circa 1960's. Ex: Private German collection, circa 1970's. (Note: Additional documentation is available to the purchaser.) I certify that this piece is authentic as to date, culture, and condition: