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A MINOAN KAMARES WARE CUP
PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF DANIEL W. DIETRICH II
A MINOAN KAMARES WARE CUP

MIDDLE MINOAN IIB, CIRCA 1750-1700 B.C.

Details
A MINOAN KAMARES WARE CUP
MIDDLE MINOAN IIB, CIRCA 1750-1700 B.C.
The body wheel-thrown, of conical form, the eggshell-thin vertical walls elegantly tapering to a flat base, with an applied strap handle, the brown slip adorned with an elaborate, crimson, undulating band below the rim outlined in white with spiked projections, and a wide band of white diagonal lines slightly curving at their ends, each band framed by white bands above and below
3 in. (7.6 cm.) high
Provenance
Private Collection, Israel.
Antiquities, Christie’s, New York, 18 December 1998, lot 61.
William B. Dietrich, Philadelphia, acquired from the above; thence by descent to the current owner.

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G. Max Bernheimer
G. Max Bernheimer

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Lot Essay

The second phase of the Middle Minoan period was a time of great development on Crete. The monumental palatial structures at Knossos, Malia and Phaistos and elsewhere became the focal point of a newly-centralized society. This lead to the standardization for pottery production, with uniformity in shapes and styles. At this time, the potter’s wheel was introduced, which increased the speed of production and lead to enhancements in quality. This period was the heyday of Minoan artistic accomplishments as seen on palatial wall-paintings, sculpture, metalwork, carved gemstones and pottery. As P.P. Bentacourt explains, (p. 66 in The History of Minoan Pottery), “Because the workshops had to be near the central authorities that supervised them, artists and craftsmen were well aware of what was being made by others and the exchange of ideas could stimulate all. Palatial styles were often cultured, sophisticated, and incredibly beautiful. Especially with painted pottery, they reached a height of visual expression beyond anything that came before.”

Kamares Ware is a paragon of the artistic accomplishments of the period. Originally taking its name from the cave-sanctuary peak of Mt. Ida in central Crete where the type was first discovered, this elegant polychrome pottery “uses abstract and natural forms set in attractive patterns on a dark-face background. Compositions employ a whole range of syntactical systems from simple bands to twisting torsions and whirling compositions to emphasize both center and circumference. In many cases the curvilinear contours and moving patterns create a vibrant sense of the living world, as if lines are sprouting and growing from other forms.” (p. 69, op. cit.). For a krater with a similar pattern on its tall foot, see no. XII, pp. 32-33 in S. Marinatos, Crete and Mycenae.

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