Next in our series of articles looking at exquisite art pieces is this amazing Roman Faience Skyphos with a Pomegranate Branch in Relief.
The skyphos from Roman times is in wonderful condition for being 2,000 years old. It has a cylindrical body and is supported by a circular foot. There are two ring-shaped handles that help facilitate and stabilize handling of it.
There is a single repeating motif on both faces: a long sinuous branch with pointed leaves and either small pomegranates or myrtle berries.
A symbolic meaning is often sought to explain them: the pomegranate, the fruit of Aphrodite, was a symbol of fertility; the myrtle, which served for the crown of a bride, was not only linked to marriage, but was also given to underground deities and deposited in tombs during burial rites.
The ancient technique of adding leaded glaze to a previously fired terra-cotta vessel was adopted by several workshops in Asia Minor toward the end of the Hellenistic period.
The vessel has been reassembled, and minor restorations are evident in the foot. The glaze is perfectly preserved.