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HOME : Classical Antiquities : Archive : Greek Silver Cup
Greek Silver Cup - LO.1415
Origin: Afghanistan
Circa: 450 BC to 300 BC
Dimensions: 3.95" (10.0cm) high x 6" (15.2cm) wide
Collection: Classical Antiquities
Medium: Silver
Condition: Extra Fine


Additional Information: SOLD

Location: Great Britain
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Description
In Greek lore, the Sidonians were said to be under the constant protection of Hephaestus, god of all metal-craft. Menelaus, as his ultimate offering to Telemachus, “present[s] you with the finest and most precious piece of plate in all my house. It is a mixing-bowl of pure silver, except the rim, which is inlaid with gold, and it is the work of Vulcan. Phaedimus king of the Sidonians made me a present of it in the course of a visit that I paid him while I was on my return home. I should like to give it to you." When we behold the unparalled magnificence of this vessel- it’s quite easy to understand why Sidonian silver-work was considered the finest in the Greek world. The curvature of its body is a current of supple and rich water. The handles vaunt and sigh out of the body- splitting and peaking into two spindling arches that would certainly leap into the air if they were not anchored to the lip of the vessel. Can anything so arrestingly transport us back to Royal Classical Greece as does this jewel? Holding it in our hands, we can almost feel a wreath of gold or oak weighting our heads, and the delicate plunk of court-lyres playing about our ears. Rarely are we offered so intimate a moment with the people who shaped history. It would have been no-one short of a Sidonian king or Spartan queen who parted their lips across this vessel. Such aesthetic mastery is rare in any time period- and the fact that this comes out of an era as romanticized and immortal as that of Classical Greece only vivifies its beauty as it excites our imaginations. - (LO.1415)

 

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