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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Oinochoe Handle
Work Type
late 7th-early 6th century BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe, Etruria
Orientalizing period to Archaic
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Leaded bronze
Cast, lost-wax process
17.5 x 3.5 cm (6 7/8 x 1 3/8 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: ICP-MS/AAA data from sample, Leaded Bronze:
Cu, 82.1; Sn, 4.95; Pb, 11.12; Zn, 0.007; Fe, 1.3; Ni, 0.06; Ag, 0.05; Sb, 0.09; As, 0.31; Bi, less than 0.025; Co, 0.022; Au, less than 0.01; Cd, less than 0.001
J. Riederer

Technical Observations: The patina on the main handle features very lumpy, thick upper layers of corrosion. Accretions obscure the surface detail in the layer below. Layers of green and red corrosion are interspersed with brown deposits, perhaps soil, in this uneven layer. Exposed surface at the bottom of the handle shows well-preserved worked designs in the dark surface below. On the underside of the handle, a loss of the lumpy crust reveals an area of blue corrosion, probably azurite. At the curve of the handle, where deformation of the metal has occurred, the thick crust has spawled off to reveal an uneven brownish-red and green surface. The top of the handle shows a more even patina except on the sides of the discs near the top.

The handle has cracks on one side of the arm on the upper cast portion. The handle is slightly deformed at the bend. The surface is covered with corrosion mixed with burial dirt, except at the deformed bend in the handle where it spawled off and in many areas where it was removed mechanically to expose the surface.

The bronze handle consists of two sections: the cast upper portion and the cast and worked metal handle that protrudes through the underside of the cast upper portion. The cast upper portion has a thin opening where it would rest on the rim of the vessel. Part of the rim remains attached by a rivet in the center of the handle where it was used to secure the handle to the vessel. Another small fragment of the vessel remains in the rivet at the lower end of the handle. The vessel fragments are thin sheet metal. The main handle portion was fabricated by casting the metal to form four rounded vertical ridges.

Carol Snow and Nina Vinogradskaya (submitted 2002)


Recorded Ownership History
Bought in Rome.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Transfer from the Department of the Classics, Harvard University
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art

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Published Catalogue Text: Ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern Bronzes at the Harvard Art Museums
Although it has been detached from its vessel, this handle is in good condition. The profile of the handle rises steeply from where it would have attached to the rim of the vessel and descends in a straight line. The body of the vessel would have curved out to join the handle at its attachment plate, which is a simple rounded shape with a punched surface decoration of dots with semicircles along the edge. The surface of the handle is decorated with incised lines forming four vertical bands. Where the handle would have been attached to the rim of the vessel, a section of metal remains attached to the rivet that joined the handle to the vessel. There are two roundels (3.5 cm wide) on either side of the top of the handle, and two more are attached at either side of the span of the rim join, which are notched to accommodate the rim. The style of the handle is a variant of the handles seen on Rhodian bronze oinochoai (1).


1. See B. B. Shefton, Die “rhodischen” Bronzekannen, Marburger Studien zur Vor- und Frühgeschichte 2 (Mainz, 1979) 5-8, pls 8-9. The Harvard handle may be considered to be a variant of type C, which is a “very heterogeneous” mostly from Etruria.

Marina D. Haworth

Subjects and Contexts

  • Ancient Bronzes

Verification Level

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