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  Istar asks

16th October 2009




Although Anahita is mostly shown with lions as a goddess of beasts she is also sometimes shown without them as a goddess of fertility.



I have found this image on the net, taken from a Sassanid bowl.

From Kevin B


A hood ornament?



If lead and silver plated, is just a modern thing.

Probably around end of 1800's, beginning of 1900's

In vogue in those years such items, and to plate should be done by electrolysis (over lead) I would guess that are not lead, but bismuth/antimony plus tin.... (silver adheres very bad to lead....) Look of statuette is also modern, to my eyes.



From Taesan

I am not convinced on this one...

The casting technique on this if it were Syrian c. end of the ANE period into Contemporary Roman times should be via the lost wax method, if I'm not mistaken. This piece doesn't seem to exhibit evidence of this type cast.





Gerben asks what is this.

6th November 2009

Is approximately 30cm high.

We don't know for sure that it's ancient though.




Several emails received; all of the opinion that it's not ancient.


Rich asks

5th  December 09



Hi, thanks for the response.  I fully realize it doesn't  have the value of a full piece, but value isn't what I'm looking for.  As for when it was found- 1980; where, in the Red Sea, at the bottom of an 80 foot or so deep underwater "cliff"-  or escarpment- very near the Saudi town of Yanbu.  This is located on the eastern shore of the Red Sea almost directly across from Aswan, in Egypt. 



My friends- who had scuba gear, but I didn't- brought up many more pots- many unbroken- from the same site, but this is the one I was given (too broken for them to bother keeping!).  It was obviously from a shipwreck but as I only had a snorkel I personally didn't see the wreck myself, but was very near it- but only on the surface.   We "walked" to the site, just offshore.  I had a lot of trouble getting to the site, as I had to cross about 25 or so meters of very shallow water, riddled with fire coral, with only swim fins for foot protection.  At that point the level spot ended & an underwater cliff extended down into the depths...very dark.  There were lionfish & stonefish there too, which were (good thing!) pointed out to avoid at all costs! 



Anyway the broken pot is a keepsake of my time in Yanbu (about 3 months out of some 5 years in The Kingdom) and if the pot can be identified in any way I'd be most appreciative. 



I've tried my best to research pottery of this era online but no results so far.  Hope the photos help!  The photo of the inside lookng down into the pot is to give a picture of the method of manufacture...obviously thrown on a wheel, somewhat crudely (fingermarks still show on the interior.  As no marine encrustation is on the interior it was clearly broken in freeing it from a fused mass of - I assume- other pots, so the interior was protected until it was "recovered" by my friends).  As to workmanship, more attention was given to the incised external decorative bands than to making a nicely finished interior.  (In college, I learned to throw pots, and did a LOT of them, but none like this, of course.)  The colors seen in the photos are pretty accurate- a medium gray, fairly fine-grained clay, showing some spots of darkening from reduction during firing.






Doesn't ring  any bells for me.

Islamic I wonder?

Hopefully someone wil pass by who has a better idea.



From Hussam

6th December 09

 I have  seen similar Ayubbid/Mamluk vessels, simialr colour, simialr work.


Is it open at the bottom?


It is very simialr in work to hand grenades fromthat period.



The "grenades" that I have seen are usually a more gray colour, though of course sea immersion might have changed the colour. The incised decoration is, on these I've seen, generally less fine.

 From Bob

6th December 09


 A hand grenade...,which might account for the cruder interior, but why would anyone take the time to engrave the exterior of a vessel that would be so short-lived?  Doesn't make sense to me, unless it was some sort of demented greeting, like what was painted on the bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima.


The general tapering shape would befit a fire grenade where a "fuse" is stuffed in and lit before hurling.  Since it appears to have been submerged, it suggests that it could have been a fire grenade hurled at a wooden ship, since on-board fires were the bane of any wooden ship.  But again... why the engraving?




I suspect that a grenade that had actually exploded would shatter into  much smaller pieces than that one!



 From Bob

Precisely.  This grenade was NOT exploded, but damaged in some other way, perhaps as the vessel sank and hit bottom, or as it was side-rammed by a warship.



From Hussam again.

What I have actually is a later type , early Ottoman, If this other one is actually what I think it is , it would be an early type.




Yes, that's a much more finely made one.

They are often very simple lumps like this.