A Bactrian Banded Alabaster Beaker
This alabaster bowl rests on a small flat base; its sides flaring up and out towards a thin and age-worn lip. The stone’s natural banding contrasts with the upward motion of the bowl’s sides, a feature not simply left to chance by the Bactrian artisan who carved this magnificent piece. The bold shape and natural decoration seen on this bowl may seem quite modern, yet these pieces were in fact the inspiration for many of the angular forms of the art-deco period and design thereafter.
But the aesthetics of the everyday were not lost on ancient civilizations, so this bowl would have sat in the cool refines of a wealthy Bactrian merchant or member of the ruling class looking to show off their considerable riches. These elite citizens enjoyed the region’s wealth, yet suffered from a succession of invasions that eventually dissolved Bactria’s borders, leaving a handsome record of its existence through objects such as this simple, yet striking bowl. This is a superb piece of ancient art and would be a worthy addition to any collection or sophisticated domestic setting.