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HOME : Biblical Antiquities : Archive : Monochrome Terracotta Amphora
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Monochrome Terracotta Amphora - P.0372
Origin: Amman, Jordan
Circa: 1000 BC to 800 BC
Dimensions: 4.75" (12.1cm) high x 2.25" (5.7cm) wide
Catalogue: V1
Collection: Biblical
Medium: Terracotta

Additional Information: Sold • Sal
Location: UAE
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This attractive miniature terracotta amphora was made by one of the most inscrutable people of the ancient Bible Lands – the Ammonites. The form is classically elegant, with a sharp base flaring to a globular body with graceful shoulders, narrowing to a short, slim neck with an everted rim. The main ground is natural terracotta in colour, with a series of thin and wide bands of dark paint encircling it approximately half way down, and around the shoulders. The neck and mouth of the vessel are similarly adorned.

This piece emulates one of the most instantly recognisable ceramic forms of antiquity. Amphorae were used throughout the Bronze Age and later for the transport of comestibles around the Mediterranean. Very large versions were used for storage within palace complexes and prosperous private homes. Smaller versions such as this were used to store more valuable materials such as scents or incense, and would have been owned by high-ranking members of society, the only people who could afford such costly unguents.

The makers of this object – the Ammonites – are extensively cited in the Old Testament as being descended from the illegitimate son of Lot. Their territory was on the “King’s Highway” from Egypt to other areas of the Middle East, and their economy – apart from trade – was based upon agriculture and mining. Their culture was considered to be allied to that of the Hebrews, although they also had affinities with the Edomites and the Israelites. They flourished for some considerable time in the dry lands of Northern Arabia, but seem to have become extinguished or absorbed by other cultures by the Late Classical period.

This is a striking and attractive piece of ancient artwork.

- (P.0372)


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