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  Dan asks

I have an item I bought off Ebay. I was told and the listing just said Greek spacer. All I want to really know is it's function.  It's bronze, 85mm long. The Ebay link is now gone. It said it was one like the ones in the Cleveland Museum of Art.  The original owner had donated some of these to them. I contacted them and they never replied. The seller will not email me any information either. It was said to be Greek and some sort of writing device??? Thanks



I confess that I don't know what it is.

What do people think?


email me!



 From Jason

15th December

Hi Bron,

If the Cleveland Museum of Art has one of these, it's in a box somewhere -- I've never seen it. Do you have any other photos of the underside of the flat end? Is it hooked?


I will try to get more pics.


From Magnus

15th December

Looks like either a curved knife, maybe double sided, for modelling or a hoof knife for cleaning and trimming the inside of horse hooves. I have no idea if the ancient greeks had them. AFAIK they didn't shoe horses but I could be wrong. I have both multiple hoof knives and multiple curved carving knives in my kits. If it was a closed curve it would be a scorp, presuming this thing actually has edges.


The top end could be a tamper/smoother- clay, plaster or wax,wouldn't be much use in wood. Wouldn't keep much of an edge in hardened plaster either.


17th December

Here are some more pics



   From swordfish0

10th March 2006

Hi; I also remember seeing this item on Ebay.

I recognize the type.They are of mostly northern Greek origin, from the Geometric period (700-800's) and are usually described as bottle stoppers.

They normally have a pointed end, four rows of buttons surrounding the shaft, and usually a monkey like figure on top sitting and holding something to its mouth.(most often described as a "bottle".

They would be dipped in wax to make them usable as stoppers, and they must have been prestige items as they are often found in graves.

There are a lot of illustrations in various works, the one I found near is ill.#99 p. 161 in:B.Schweitzer- Greek geometric art.,where he illustrates 5 examples.

Having said all that, I must confess that the example illustrated by Dan does not look very convincing.The patina is odd, the flat edge on the bottom of the piece,and the lack of the all-important figure on top, add up to a suspicious piece. It may be a provincial example or copy , if it is at all ancient.

Hope all this is of some help.

Take care.


Thanks very much.

Any chance of a scan of the the relevant pages from that book?


I saw this group of artifacts oneBay a few weeks ago.

Said only "Various Greek bronze artifacts"




More info from swordfish0




29th October 2006

Browsing through "Greek Etruscan & Roman Bronzes" by Comstock & Vermeule this morning, look what I found. I must have seen it before but I had not remembered it.



We are only slightly wiser.........



   From Jeff

25th January 2006

Here are pics of the 'mystery' head for your perusal, opinion and for the site if its of interest !

The description (I always take them with a pinch of salt, do my own research etc!) was ' Celtic bronze head or Satyr mask, C.2-3rd BC'

and verbal provenence one of 7 items collected by a Oxford Don, auctioned by his widow, found originally Colchester, Essex ??

Material - bronze

Size - 38 mm

NOTE - Actual patina is quite a bit darker than the pics I enclose - actually a dark brown/green with tiny patches of lighter mid-green !

I purchased this on Ebay and whilst I believe this is probably 1000-2000 years old I can't quite place it as from a definate geographical location or time period ! Saying that, I can't quite decide, for once, if it is an applique (although no obvious marks to the reverse), votive piece, utensil finial etc !!

My first thoughts on the pics (and I know how unreliable pics can be !) was that possibly the item was probably 4-10th C AD ??

My initial interest in this head went beyond whether the description was accurate or not, it caught my eye, wonderful expression on the face !

There is a little something Celtic/ Barbarian - European about it....the hair pulled up, moustache but the stylised beard doesn't quite seem to fit? !

But the hair, eye shape, eyebrows and beard although stylised, also hint to me, of the Middle East, India, Persia, Syria etc......???

All thoughts and comments gratefully recieved ! I have bigger pic's if required !



    From worsjor1

9th March 2006


Was this piece made for daily use or for funerary purposes? 

Does the eye motif have a meaning? an amulet? evil eye?


"A large pierced glazed faience ball retaining traces of black painted decoration to the surface. The painting consists of two large circles and dots to either side, forming a pair of stylised eyes. Size: 2.2 cms diameter."




    From indynickycat

9th March


Looks like a large faience bead to me. (New Kingdom?)

See for reference....


Thanks. I can't see the "evil eye" though.

Did he mean this?

Known as "El ojo del cepillo/brochas"



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