Situla adorned with the Heads of Athena and Lion
Period: 4th century B.C.
Dimensions: H: 25 cm
Ex- English private collection, 1975.
Complete; covered with a green and blue patina.
This vessel presents a magnificent example of Greek bronze vessels shaped as a situla and entirely preserved in a very good condition. The body was worked cold by hammering a single sheet of bronze, while the handles were cast separately.
The shape of the situla resembles an inverted bell provided with two semicircular handles movable like those of a bucket. The ends are inserted into the rings which are part of a decorative pattern welded to the wall of the container.
On one side, there is a protome made in high relief depicting the helmeted goddess Athena; on the other side, a head of lion is placed to form a prominent mouthpiece: like a gargoyle of a fountain, the liquid flows through the open mouth of the feline. It is superimposed to the wall of the vessel which, on its turn, is provided with holes serving as strainer.
In everyday life, the situla (the Latin term for a bucket) was a container used for carrying and servicing of liquids, especially the wine consumed during the symposia (banquets). Only a few examples in metal are known, the rest was made in terracotta. Bronze situlae of this type are characteristic for the products of ancient Macedonia; among the most important are the silver recipients of Vergina and the bronze ones of Derveni and Nikésani. They date from the 4th century before our era.
ANDRONICOS M., Vergina, The Royal Tombs and the Ancient City , Athens, 1984, pp. 146-147, figs. 104-105; pp. 209-211, figs. 176-177 (in silver).
Treasures of Ancient Macedonia , Thessaloniki, 1980, p. 97, no. 406 (Nikesiani).
PANDERMALIS D., Alexander the Great, treasures from an epic era of Hellenism , New York, 2004, pp. 78-79, nos. 5-6.
VOKOTOPUOLOU J., Guide to the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki , 1996, pp. 208-209 (Derveni).