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HOME : Classical Antiquities : Archive : Silver Vessel with Lion Finial
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Silver Vessel with Lion Finial - FF.023
Origin: Europe
Circa: 300 BC to 100 BC
Dimensions: 13.25" (33.7cm) high
Collection: Classical Art
Medium: Silver
Condition: Very Fine

Additional Information: SOLD

Location: Great Britain
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Silver was one of the main forms of moveable wealth in antiquity. The survival of silver vessels is extremely rare owing to the frequency with which such material assets were melted down. This hammered silver ewer has a tapering cylindrical neck which opens into a wide circular lip. The piriform body rests on a circular base with an elegant narrow stem. There is some repair to the body but the overall condition is good.

The most striking feature is the lion finial which rests on the upper, flatter part of the curved handle. The lion is of semi-abstract form with an impossibly slender arched back. Small markings on the upper body indicate the ribs and the neck is covered with a mane formed from thick, wavy strands of hair. The long tail is delightfully wound around one of the lion’s rear legs. The pose, with the paws resting on the inside of the ewer’s lip, and the lion’s wide open mouth suggest an alert state. Perhaps this creature is guarding the precious liquid, possibly wine, once contained in the ewer? His gaze is certainly directed into the vessel. Long associated with power and status, the lion motif was no doubt meant to reflect the prestige of the original owner. The slender handle terminates in a face/ mask which shows traces of gold gilding. The hair is centrally parted and swept to the sides in thick strands. A long nose, almond shaped eyes and full lips characterise the face. For further decorative effect two volute scrolls run beneath the cheeks, parting company just below the chin. - (FF.023)


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