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Identification and Creation
Object Number
Bowl with Inscription in Cypriot Syllabic Script
Work Type
8th-early 5th century BCE
Creation Place: Ancient & Byzantine World, Asia, Cyprus
Cypro-Geometric period
Persistent Link
Physical Descriptions
Cast and hammered
4.5 x 10.6 x 0.1 cm (1 3/4 x 4 3/16 x 1/16 in.)
Technical Details

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

Technical Observations: The surface is bright metal with areas of black, red, and small spots of green. Some pitting and small dents are present, especially near the center of the bottom, and the corrosion appears deep in some of these areas. The interior bears fine modern abrasive scratches from cleaning. Two cracks, one 3 mm and the other 5 cm, under the area of the inscription are filled with corrosion products and appear to pre-date burial. A 1-cm area of tinted resin near the center is probably a modern repair of a hole. The inscription has been cleaned with a hard point, but the corrosion in the lines is like the dark patina elsewhere, and it does not appear to be a modern addition.

The irregular thickness would seem to indicate the bowl was raised by hammering, but the dendritic structure of the metal that is visible at many areas of the interior points to casting. It is possible that the cast bowl was hammered to finish the surfaces. The lines of the inscription are worn but appear to have been hammered into the surface using a tool with an elongated front edge.

Henry Lie (submitted 2012)

Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: one line of text on the interior of the bowl in the Cypriot syllabic script,


    [transliteration: Ἐχεϝοίκω ἠμί. Translation: I am [the bowl/the votive] of Echewoikos]
German private collection (by 1991). [Frank L. Kovacs, San Rafael, CA, sold]; to the Harvard University Art Museums.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Marian H. Phinney Fund
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
This simple, hemispherical bowl is plain on the exterior. On the interior, there is a raised ridge at approximately the midpoint between the bottom and the rim (1). There is also a small raised boss on the bottom of the bowl in the interior. The rim is thicker than the walls, causing the rim to overhang the wall on the interior slightly. Just below the rim are seven incised characters of the Cypriot syllabary stating that the owner of the bowl was Echewoikos.

Votive vessels with ownership inscriptions are known from the eastern Mediterranean in the Geometric and Archaic periods, not only on Cyprus but also exported into the Aegean region (2). This bowl is unusual in terms of the placement of the inscription, which is on the interior rather than the exterior, and it is the only one of its type, with a raised horizontal ridge on the interior, to bear an inscription (3).


1. For this type of vessel, see H. Matthäus, Metallgefässe und Gefässuntersäatze der Bronzezeit, der geometrischen und archaischen Period auf Cypern, Prähistorische Bronzefunde 2.8 (Munich, 1985) 109-12, nos. 312-24, pl. 18.

2. For a list of similar inscriptions, see R. Schmitt, “Eine neue kyprische Gefässinschrift,” Kadmos: Zeitschrift für vor- und fruhgriechische Epigraphik 30.2 (1991): 128-30, esp. 129. For a general description of Cypriot bronze bowls of this type, their chronology, findspots, and inscriptions, see H.-G. Buchholz and H. Matthäus, “Zyprische Bronzeschalen der geometrischen und archaischen Periode,” Cahier du Centre d'Etudes Chypriotes 33 (2003): 99-148.

3. Buchholz and Matthäus 2003 (supra 2) 100.

Lisa M. Anderson

Publication History

Rüdiger Schmitt, "Eine neue kyprische Gefässinschrift", Kadmos: Zeitschrift fur vor- und fruhgriechische Epigraphik (1991), Bd. 30, Hf. 2, 128-30, pls. 1-2.

Hans-Gunter Buchholz and Hartmut Matthaus, "Zyprische Bronzeschalen der geometrischen und archaischen Periode", Cahier du Centre d'Etudes Chypriotes (2003), Vol. 33, 99-148, pp. 99-100, 122-124, 138, no. 18, figs. 1-2 and 19.

Markus Egetmeyer, Le dialecte grec ancien de Chypre II: Repertoire des inscriptions en syllabaire chypro-grec, Walter de Gruyter and Co. (Berlin, 2010), Gastria 1.

Anna Cannavo, "Histoire de Chypre à l’époque archaïque: Analyse des sources textuelles" (2011), Universite de Lyon, (Ph.D. diss.) pp. 277-78, no. I A 50.

Subjects and Contexts

Ancient Bronzes

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