Object: Pot

C/1957/6/1
Mycenaean: Basket-handled Pot
Greece
Late Helladic III, 1675 – 1050 B.C.
Materials: Clay

This object is a Mycenaean basket-handled pot dated to the Late Helladic III period. The small, handmade pot has a flat base and straight walls. A flat strap crosses the pot mouth from side to side and draws in the sides to create an oval-shaped mouth. Above the strap a rolled basket handle arches over the mouth. The buff clay is painted with a reddish glaze. The base is decorated with concentric circles and the walls of the basket have a pattern of triangles that alternate being filled in with dots or sequent triangles. Dots of red glaze decorate the handle between two solid bands. Basket-shaped pots similar to this one have been found in tombs at Mycenae.

Until Heinrich Schliemann found the ancient city of Mycenae in 1870, many thought the city only existed in the legends and poetry of Homer. Schliemann discovered the city using only landmarks from the text of Homer’s Iliad. The city of Mycenae was the center of the large and very powerful Mycenaean Greek civilization which existed from 1900 to 1125 BC. It was located in the south central part of what is present day Greece. The Mycenaean people were known as warriors with a king who lead a strong military. Evidence suggests the Mycenaean culture had extensive trade connections throughout the Mediterranean, as Mycenaean pottery has been found in southern Italy and as far away as Egypt.

Mycenaean pottery was functional art for daily use. Pottery from the Late Helladic period incorporated pottery styles of Minoan Crete. During the 14th and 13th centuries BC, cultural conformity began to affect the pottery of Mycenae through the use of a generally uniform decoration of simple linear designs or animal motifs. Toward the end of the Mycenaean period, around the 11th century BC, the pottery that was produced consisted largely of small vessels with linear decorations. This pottery decoration style was the precursor of the Greek Geometric style.

[Debra Taylor]

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