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Home > Auctions > 21st February 2023 > Greek Silver Wine Strainer

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LOT 0075

GBP (£) 20,000 - 30,000
EUR (€) 22,620 - 33,930
USD ($) 24,640 - 36,970

Opening Bid
£18,000 (EUR 20,359; USD 22,179) (‡+bp*)

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Bid History: 0
8 3/4 in. (160 grams, 22.2 cm wide (526 grams total including stand)).

A high-quality silver wine strainer composed of a shallow bowl and broad flange rim, two integral scalloped handles with scrolled flourishes, tapering to a loop handle with swan head terminals with incised eye and beak detailing, perforated whirl within roundel to interior base; accompanied by a custom-made display stand.

Ex private South German collection, 1980s.
with Christie's, New York, 8 June 2012, lot 86.

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 number no.11578-198980.

Cf. Reeder, Ellen D., Hellenistic Art in the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, 1988, p.125, no.130, for similar examples and a general discussion of type; A Passion for Antiquities, Ancient Art from the collection of Barbera and Lawrence Fleischman, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu, 1994, pp.77-78, no.31D; and The Search for Alexander, exhibition catalogue, 1980, p.167, no.130; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, accession number 1972.118.88, for a group containing a silver strainer with similar looped handle and bird head terminal; a similar specimen in the Walters Art Museum, accession number 57.910; a similar example in shape and quality can be seen in the ‘Tomb of the Prince’, in Pella, cf. Touratsoglou, I., Macedonia, History, Monuments, Museums, Athens, 1996, p.240, fig.312.

Elaborate silver strainers, such as this present example, were used at symposia and festive occasions for the purpose of preventing the dregs of wine from entering the wine cup. This and other related silver utensils became popular in the later 4th and 3rd century B.C. These highly decorated wine strainers were fitted with dual handles forming loops in the shape of twisting animals, here a swan. Usually they took the form of a shallow dish complete with four rings of perforations in the centre in order to drain the wine. Strainers of this type were used to separate out sediments which could be found in the thick Greek wine. Examples similar to this one have been found in royal tombs in northern Greece, as well as the tomb of a monarch in Sudan.