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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Handle and Two Attachments for a Situla (Wine Bucket)
Work Type
3rd Century BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe, Etruria
Hellenistic period
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Copper alloy
Cast, lost-wax process
Handle: 22 cm (8 11/16 in.); spouted face attachment: 4.1 x 5.7 x 5.7 cm; human face attachment 3.5 x 5.7 x 3.0 cm
Technical Details

Technical Observations: The patina of the attachments has deep layers of green over deep layers of red. The handle, which was cold worked rather than cast, has very deep green layers with spots of blue but little underlying red. The brown burial accretions are the same on both attachments. Those on the handle are the same color but have a slightly different texture. Taken as a whole, the surface appearance of the three components is similar, and they could have come from the same burial location and may be related to one another. Most of the surfaces are very well preserved. There are some surface losses in the corrosion layers of the handle.

The modeled forms of the two cast attachments were quickly executed and have many irregularities. This could indicate that the wax model was formed directly to create a unique model as opposed to casting multiple wax models in a mold. The fine incised lines were freely and expressively cut into a hard surface, probably that of the metal after casting. A black residue or corrosion layer where the back surfaces of both attachments contacted the vessel could be the remnants of a secondary metal used to create this join. The handle is thick enough to have been cast, and the ends could have been cold worked into loops after casting. The shape of this element could also have easily been formed entirely by cold working.

Henry Lie (submitted 2011)


Recorded Ownership History
{Hesperia Art, Philadelphia, PA] (1969), sold; to the Alice Corinne McDaniel Collection, Department of the Classics, Harvard University (1969-2012), transfer; to the Harvard Art Museums 2012.

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Transfer from the Alice Corinne McDaniel Collection, 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
These three attachments would have belonged to a situla (wine bucket) (1). One of the two handles survives; it is a flat bronze bar, rectangular in section, with a uniform width up to the terminals. The terminals of the bar, circular in section, taper and fold into hooks with small pointed knobs.

The attachments would have hung from the ends of the handles. One attachment is in the shape of a human head. The face is roughly made, with nose, mouth, eyebrows, and chin clearly modeled. The hair is rendered in simple linear incisions, coming to a point under a head covering that perhaps represents the lion skin of Herakles.

The spout attachment is in the shape of a lion’s face with its tongue protruding and rolled. The mane is clearly indicated, as are features of the face and lips. The ears are possibly molded on either side but are uneven. At the top of each attachment is a plaque with two holes for the handle terminals and a pointed knob between; the reverses of both attachments are concave.

1. Compare a situla with intact attachments and handles as well as other loose examples in J. W. Hayes, Greek, Roman, and Related Metalware in the Royal Ontario Museum: A Catalogue (Toronto, 1984) 26-29, nos. 31-33; S. Boucher, Bronzes grecs, hellénistiques et étrusques (sardes, ibériques et celtiques) des musées de Lyon, Collections des musées de Lyon 9 (Lyon, 1970) 132-35, nos. 140-42; M. P. Bini, G. Caramella, and S. Buccioli, I bronzi etruschi e romani, Materiali del Museo archeologico nazionale di Tarquinia 13 (Rome, 1995) 131-32, nos. 110-13, pls. 58-59.

Lisa M. Anderson

Publication History

  • John Crawford, Sidney Goldstein, George M. A. Hanfmann, John Kroll, Judith Lerner, Miranda Marvin, Charlotte Moore, and Duane Roller, Objects of Ancient Daily Life. A Catalogue of the Alice Corinne McDaniel Collection Belonging to the Department of the Classics, Harvard University, ed. Jane Waldbaum, Department of the Classics (unpublished manuscript, 1970), M192, p. 211-12 [J. S. Crawford]

Subjects and Contexts

  • Ancient Bronzes

Verification Level

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