Red Polished Ware
Terracotta; H. 14 in. (35.56 cm)
The Cesnola Collection, Purchased by subscription, 1874–76 (74.51.1329)
Red Polished Ware vessels, such as this bowl, made their appearance at the very beginning of the Early Cypriot I period, having been introduced by immigrants from Anatolia who settled on the island soon after the middle of the third millennium B.C. The surface was covered with a red slip, which was then burnished to render a lustrous appearance. The small rosettes and incisions on the handle, filled with lime after firing, lend a striking contrast to the red background of the vase.
Cypriot Red Polished Ware has long been known from finds in tombs throughout the island, and has recently appeared at settlement sites as well. The shapes and decorations on vessels, like this double-spouted bowl, highlight the creative spirit of the Cypriot potter, showing the artist's sense of elegance and geometric symmetry.