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Home > Auctions > 21st November 2017 > Greek Hellenistic Gilt Silver Bowl with Complex Ornament

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LOT 0089

Sold for (Inc. bp): £18,600

6 3/4" (254 grams, 17.5cm).

A shallow silver bowl with thickened chamfered rim, concentric gilt bands, one with reserve scrolled vines with bunches of grapes on a textured field; central disc with octofoil and four radiating leaves, coiled tendrils on a pointillé textured field with running wave border.

Private collection, London, UK; formerly with Art D'Orient, Artcurial, 15 November 2016, lot 16; from an important family collection formed 1970s-1980s; accompanied by French cultural export certificate number 185382; an examination report from Striptwist Ltd, a London-based company run by historical precious metal specialist Dr Jack Ogden; and X-Ray Fluorescence metal analysis certificate number 00892-2017GB.

This lot is published on the front cover of the printed catalogue.

The bowl was probably made in one of the major artistic centres of the Hellenistic east, most likely the city of Antioch, capital of the Seleucid Empire. Founded by Seleucus Nicator, a general in the army of Alexander the Great. The Empire at its height of power stretched from Asia Minor to the borders of India. The Seleucid Empire was a major center of Hellenistic culture that maintained the preeminence of Greek customs where a Greek political elite dominated, mostly in the urban areas.The Greek population of the cities who formed the dominant elite were reinforced by immigration from Greece.

The Seleucid empire's geographical span, from the Aegean Sea to what is now Afghanistan and Pakistan, created a melting pot of various peoples, such as Greeks, Armenians, Persians, Medes, Assyrians and Jews. The immense size of the empire, followed by its encompassing nature, encouraged the Seleucid rulers to implement a policy of ethnic unit - a policy initiated by Alexander. This fusing of cultures led to a unique art that blended Greek and eastern tastes and established Antioch as one of the major cultural centres of the Hellenistic world.