Jar thumbnail 1
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Ceramics, Room 145

Jar

ca.750-600 BC (made)
Place Of Origin

Barrel-shaped jar with nipples at each end and with one handle. Wheel-thrown earthenware painted in purplish-black and red on a buff-coloured slip with bands of parallel lines and abstract floral motifs, including a large ‘bulls-eye’ motif of black concentric lines framed by a broader concentric band.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Earthenware, wheel-thrown and painted in black and red on a buff-coloured slip
Brief Description
Barrel-shaped jar with one handle, earthenware, wheel-thrown and painted in black and red on a buff-coloured slip, Cyprus, ca. 750-600 BC.
Physical Description
Barrel-shaped jar with nipples at each end and with one handle. Wheel-thrown earthenware painted in purplish-black and red on a buff-coloured slip with bands of parallel lines and abstract floral motifs, including a large ‘bulls-eye’ motif of black concentric lines framed by a broader concentric band.
Dimensions
  • Height: 32.1cm
  • Length: 30.0cm
  • Width: 24.8cm (maximum)
Gallery Label
Jar with geometric designs Cyprus, perhaps Kourion About 750–600 BC The jar, used for storing wine or water, was made in two halves. They were thrown on a potter’s wheel and ‘luted’ together with slip (liquid clay). Cyprus was colonised first from Greece, from 1500 BC, and then from Phoenicia (modern Lebanon). In 709 BC it came under Assyrian control. The refined decoration reflects this cultural mix and the high social status of the jar’s owners. Unglazed earthenware, made in sections and assembled, covered with buff slip and painted. Museum no. 222-1883 (11/09/2009)
Object history
Found in a tomb at Gastria, a village at the base of the Karpas peninsula near the northern shore of Famagusta Bay. It came from a large group of ancient pottery bought by the Museum for £200 from Lieutenant Kitchener, RE, Director of Survey in Cyprus, who was later to achieve fame as Field Marshall Horatio Herbert Kitchener, 1st Earl Kitchener of Khartoum (1850-1916). The excavation work was carried out for Kitchener under the supervision of George Gordon Hake (1847-1903) between 24 March and 1 May 1882 and the finds were transported to Britain on the steam ship Arcadia.



Kitchener joined the Royal Engineers in 1871 and carried out geographical, topographical, archaeological and natural history surveys in Egypt, Palestine and Cyprus. He produced the first-known accurate map of Cyprus (1878-1883 by which time the island was under British administration) and carried out a fiscal survey there. As Secretary of State for War, he issued the iconic 1914 recruitment poster depicting his own face with long moustache.



Artistic influences on the native Cypriot potting tradition were diverse owing to the island's key position between the Greek and near eastern nations. Colonists were attracted to its strategic position, trading potential and natural resources, the foremost of which was copper. Indeed the word 'copper' and its adjective 'cupreous' derive from the name of the island. The earliest imported vases excavated in Cyprus are wheel-turned Minoan ones from Crete (about 1900 B.C.). Between about 1500 and 1050 B.C., Mycenaean colonists arrived from mainland Greece bringing their own pots, the decorative features of which became part of the native repertoire. Between about 1050 and 750 B.C., Phoenicians (Canaanite seafarers, traders and colonists from what is now Lebanon) added their potting and decorative styles to the Cypriot mix. During the period when this flask was made, much of Cyprus surrendered to Assyrian control (709 B.C.). The quatrefoil motif may have a near eastern origin.
Historical context
Used for storing wine or water. The size and fine decoration suggest this jar may have been owned by a socially elevated family for domestic use or funerary feasts.
Production
Made in Cyprus, perhaps at Kourion, one of the most magnificent of the twelve ancient kingdoms of Cyprus, sited on a hilltop overlooking the sea at the south. Bichrome III-IV; Cypro-Archaic I period.
Bibliographic References
  • Donald Bailey, 'Lamps in the Victoria and Albert Museum', in Opuscula Atheniensia VI, Lund, Sweden, 1965
  • 'Masterpieces of World Ceramics', ed. Reino Liefkes and Hilary Young, V&A Publishing, London, 2008
Collection
Accession Number
222-1883

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record createdSeptember 29, 1998
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