In this new series we look at some of our pieces and the incredible stories behind them.
Roman Chalcedony Kantharos
This rare 2000 year old vessel was cut from a single block of chalcedony, a material used mostly for seals and beads since the Minoan times, and which became especially popular for the Ionic Greek and Graeco-Persian gems of the 5th and 4th centuries B.C.E.
The shape is characteristic of a type of kantharos, with perfectly harmonious proportions. Its smooth surface reflects the light and bestows the subtle color-shifting translucence coveted by connoisseurs. While there are similar bowls from this period and a little later extant, none share its exact combination of material and form.
While complete, it was reassembled from four fragments and has a large crack and a few natural interior cracks.