Although I anticipate picking up some more interesting pottery pieces in the next couple of weeks, I figured I'd slip in a new post now. (Pottery slip. Get it? Never mind. Too esoteric)
My three latest acquisitions are below. Although unglazed and imperfect in form, these are nevertheless very special to me. They come with outstanding provenance (each is from an important collection), all are from ancient Iran (my particular area of collecting interest - whether I'm collecting coins, weapons, or pottery), one is published in a major reference book (my first published artifact other than coins), and it seems that that same one may very well be Parthian. (Those who know me will understand why that matters) If the attribution is accurate, it represents my first ceramic Parthian artifact.
The footed cup/bowl/chalice below, measuring about 5.25" wide, was listed by the seller as NW Iran, 8th - 7th century BC. That would predate the Parthian Empire. However, as I discovered prior to purchase, it turns out that this artifact is published, as figure 170, on page 226 of Trudy S. Kawami's Ancient Iranian Ceramics in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections
(1992). (It pays to do your homework) Kawami lists the vessel as Parthian, which would make its dating a bit later: mid-3rd century BC to early 3rd century AD. Kawami, BTW, is also author of Monumental Art of the Parthian Period in Iran
(Leiden: 1987). She is a Ph.D in art history and archaeology, specializing in art of ancient Iran (including, notably, Parthian art). I see no reason to doubt her attribution of the piece. This artifact becomes the second ex-Sackler
in my collection. It was released from the collection by Sotheby's around 2009.
Painted tripod bowls like the one below are rare, but do show up occasionally at auction. They are from NW Iran and are usually dated c. 2000 - 1500 BC. As such, they are often associated with ancient Luristan. The painted decorations are usually geometric in nature: latticework grids, stripes, triangles, and such, but sometimes simple, repetitive animal motifs are included too. The sides of these vessels are always concave, and the rims pretty prominent.
My example, measuring about 4.5" tall, is from the Marcel Gibrat Collection. I've written about Gibrat before. He seems to have been an interesting fellow. Born in 1915 in Grenoble, France, he eventually became a self-taught art restorer for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY. He also did some restoration work for the Toledo Museum of Art. In addition, he was a painter, and a serious antiquities collector and seller. His personal collection was extensive. Gibrat died in 1993. I own several pieces that used to reside in his collection - including weapons. All were purchased from his nephew.
This single handled Western Asian vessel below is also from the Gibrat Collection. It measures 5" wide and 5.5" tall. It has a small rim chip but is, otherwise, in good shape considering its age. It dates to c.12th - 10th century BC.