Terracotta jar


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 151

This jar, the jug (2004.363.2), and the kernos (2004.363.1) displayed nearby, were found together in 1829 on Melos by the British naval captain Richard Copeland. In 1857 his widow gave the objects to Eton College in Windsor, England, where they remained until 1996, when they were lent to The Met. The group was purchased by the Museum in 2004.

Of the three, the kernos is the most intriguing and complex. Although kernoi were used in widely disparate regions during the prehistoric period, particularly impressive examples have come to light in the Cyclades, and this is one of the largest, most elaborate and elegant kernoi to have survived. The twenty-five flask-like containers around the central bowl were probably used to hold offerings of seeds, grain, flowers, fruit, or liquids.
The painted decoration of the jar is similar to that of the kernos, with rows of alternating narrow and broad chevrons and designs in dark glaze over a white slip. The jug is more extensively decorated with comparable motifs. All three vessels represent Cycladic pottery at its most precise and accomplished, and presumably they came from the same tomb, possibly at Phylakopi, the primary Cycladic settlement on the island.

Terracotta jar, Terracotta, Cycladic

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