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Identification and Creation

Object Number
Basin Handle with Palmette-Shaped Attachment Plate
Work Type
first half 5th century BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Europe
Classical period, Early
Persistent Link

Physical Descriptions

Leaded bronze
Cast, lost-wax process
11.9 x 8.8 x 1.4 cm (4 11/16 x 3 7/16 x 9/16 in.)
Technical Details

Chemical Composition: XRF data from Artax 1
Alloy: Leaded Bronze
Alloying Elements: copper, tin, lead
Other Elements: iron
K. Eremin, January 2014

Technical Observations: The patina is dark green with spots of red and light green. The surface is well preserved. Several small holes and flaws in the surface are casting flaws rather than areas of damage

The two components were cast separately. The handle endpoints are pressure fitted into holes at the top of the leaf plate. This join still allows movement between the two parts. The handle may have been cast as a straight shape and then hammered into a curve to meet and pressure fit into the leaf attachment. The leaf is rough on the back side, and the wax model used to cast it was probably poured or pressed into an open, one-sided mold. The incised lines in the leaf attachment were created through a combination of punch marks from an elongated point and tracer tool lines with small facets from individual blows of the hammer. A chisel point (4 mm wide) was used to clean up the back surface of the leaf attachment in preparation for joining it to the vessel.

Henry Lie (submitted 2011)


Recorded Ownership History
[Sotheby's New York Antiquities Auction, 1985], sold; to The Alice Corinne McDaniel Collection, Department of the Classics, Harvard University (1985-2012), transfer; to the Harvard Art Museums, 2012.

Sotheby's New York, December 9, 1985, Sale 5398, Lot 267.

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
The circular-sectioned basin handle is oblong; it tapers toward the attachment plate, and there are two widely spaced molded knobs dividing the handle into thirds. The knobs are wide torus shapes with flattened edges with raised circles on either side. The attachment is in the form of a palmette (1). The thickest part of the plate is at the top, where it flares into a spool-shape, with a hole on each end for the insertion of the handle. On the front, the decoration is mostly done by incision; there are two thick volutes inside of which is a rectangular band decorated with incised Xs, above an inverted palmette. The back is featureless and flat. The attachment itself is slightly curved, to better conform to the basin to which it would have attached.


1. Compare W. Gauer, Die Bronzegefässe von Olympia: Mit Ausnahme der geometrischen Dreifüsse und der Kessel des orientalisierenden Stils, Olympische Forschungen 20 (Berlin, 1991) 201, no. Le 200, pl. 31, for the attachment plate. For the handle, compare ibid., 229, nos. Le 505 and 514, pl. 53.

Lisa M. Anderson

Publication History

  • Chiara Tarditi, Bronze Vessels from the Acropolis: Style and Decoration in Athenian Production between the Sixth and Fifth Centuries BC, Edizioni Quasar (Roma, 2016), p. 239, fig. 17

Subjects and Contexts

  • Ancient Bronzes

Related Works

Verification Level

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