Phoenix Art Pieces: Roman Chalcedony Kantharos

In this new series we look at some of our pieces and the incredible stories behind them.

Roman Chalcedony Kantharos

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.