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Home > Auctions > 29th November 2022 > Large Greek Decorated Bronze Hydria

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LOT 0058

GBP (£) 15,000 - 20,000
EUR (€) 17,490 - 23,320
USD ($) 18,410 - 24,550

£13,500 (EUR 15,743; USD 16,573) (‡+bp*)

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14 in. (4.7 kg, 39.5 cm).

A bronze hydria composed of a tapering body, broad shoulder and waisted neck, the everted rim decorated with egg-and-dart motifs, three round-section handles and tiered, ogival foot.

Old collection N.A., Niedersachsen, circa 1989-1990.
with Gorny & Mosch June 2019, lot 226.
Accompanied by a copy of the relevant Gorny & Mosch catalogue pages.
Accompanied by an original French cultural passport number 226773 dated 3 June 2021.
Accompanied by an academic report by Dr Raffaele D'Amato.
This lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by search certificate no.11306-190969.

Cf. The British Museum, museum number 1875,1110.1, for a similar example dated 350-300 B.C., published in Walters, H.B., Catalogue of the bronzes in the British Museum, Greek, Etruscan and Roman, London, 1899, no.312; cf. The Metropolitan Museum, accession number 06.1078, for similar vessel dated 5th century B.C., from Galaxidi; cf. Diehl, E., Die Hydria. Formgeschichte und Verwendung im Kult des Altertums, (1964) 31 f.; Taf. 9 B 110; cf. also Mitten D. G. and Doeringer S.F., Master Bronzes from the Classical World, Mainz, 1967, pp. 108-109, no.108, for a similar example in the Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Whilst such vessels were originally produced for holding water, hydriai were often re-purposed. From the 5th century B.C. onwards, they also had a funerary function, used in the cult of the dead and the underworld. Appearing as grave deposits, they were sometimes used as funerary urns, receptacles for the ashes of the deceased (see the MET hydria from Galaxidi, found with the bones still inside). Hydriai were also commonly associated with rituals relating to the cults of the gods, with particular emphasis on Zeus, Hera, Aphrodite, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Demeter, Persephone, Dionysus, the Nymphs, Adonis and other gods and heroes. They have been found in temples and public buildings and have been recorded as prizes in athletic games. It has also been suggested that the more lavish examples were gifted to brides.